EU divided over BSE crisis

Agriculture ministers meet to discuss how to manage BSE crisis and foot-and-mouth outbreak in the United Kingdom

European agriculture ministers meet on 26 and 27 February to discuss the current BSE crisis and the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom (UK).

The 15 ministers will have to make important decisions on how to re-stabilise the European beef market, due to the BSE crisis. The European Commission will submit their "7-point plan" to the ministers. France and Germany have conflicting views over how the BSE crisis should be dealt with. The ministers must also answer the question of where to find the money to deal with the economic and human consequences of a crisis that has seen a 30 percent drop in consumption of beef and veal across the EU.

The Agriculture Council will also address the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom. There will be a briefing from a UK delegation concerning the current situation.

The European Commission imposed an export ban on all animal products from the UK from 21 February, until 1 March. The ministers will discuss whether or not to lift the ban.

The Standing Veterinary Committee is also scheduled to meet and discuss the outbreak of foot-and-mouth in conjunction with the Agriculture Council meeting.

The ministers will also examine recent progress reports on WTO negotiations on agriculture; food labelling; the possibility of a sugar shortage; labelling of GMO feedingstuffs; the situation of the wine market; the current situation of the fisheries negotiations with Morocco; and Regulation EC 1257/1999 - setting-up aid for young farmers.

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