Monitor: French beef ban

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The French and British press assess the latest developments in the long-running dispute about the French ban on British beef


THE REPERCUSSIONS inside the "Hexagone" are looking excellent for Jospin, who has taken on the role of intransigent censor of dodgy food. His slap in the face for Europe even gets him the Eurosceptic vote. And too bad Tony Blair, who over the the past few weeks assumed he could reach a compromise with France. Mad cow disease had obviously claimed its most recent victim...

Daily Mail

ENOUGH IS enough. Though this government would not dream of even a gesture of retaliation, members of the public have every right to stand up for themselves. However great our admiration and respect for the French people, there is now an unanswerable case for consumers to boycott products from France and buy British instead. The Mail urges all readers to support this protest. As for the Government, the lesson could not be more clear. So far, Ministers have shown less backbone than an approved joint of British beef. Our "partners" fight with utter ruthlessness for their national interests. Isn't it time New Labour showed resolve to do the same for Britain?

Financial Times

FRESH DAMAGE has been done to Franco-British relations. The culprit is Lionel Jospin. He has dealt a blow to Tony Blair's campaign to make Britain feel more European. Mr Jospin set the trap for himself in creating a National Food Safety Agency whose views he then found himself unable to ignore. Britain is about to set up a similar body. Such national organisations will increase the chaos in food policy, unless the EU creates its own overarching safety agency. France is publicly committed to an EU agency. Mr Blair would be wise to follow suit.

Le Monde

WE KNOW what lies behind the decision not to lift the embargo: the "Aids Blood" scandal. This drama cost hundreds of lives, ruined the lives of thousands of others, left French politicians thoroughly traumatised. This affair has blown up because the mad cow problem touches two important areas: agriculture and health. The first is, for good or for worse, regulated by EU law; the second isn't. There is a common policy for agriculture, but not for health. In two years' time, France could be condemned by the European Court of Justice. Jospin should put this time to good use to implement the only way out of this debacle: a common policy for the protection of the health of European consumers.