END OF THE BEEF BAN: CONSERVATIVES TO HOLD CELEBRATION BARBECUE

Euro-MPs from across the EU will be invited

Brussels 2 May 2006 -- Conservative MEPs are planning a barbecue in the European Parliament to celebrate the lifting of the export ban on British beef, which ends at midnight tonight. Sir Robert Atkins MEP andConservative Deputy Leader in the European Parliament, has said he is particularly looking forward to inviting his French colleagues.An EU inspector's report in September 2005 endorsed the UK's BSE safeguards, paving the way for an announcement in March that the ban on British beef would be lifted on 3 May. Unfortunately, France has not yet amended their legislation to allow beef imports and Sir Robert has criticised the French government for dragging its feet.

Sir Robert said:

"Our farmers have been waiting a decade for this day. They are finally on an equal footing again. British beef is a high quality product. It is as safe as any other beef in the world. The British government must now help our farmers market their beef abroad.We are going to showcase British beef in the European Parliament so that MEPs will go back to their home nations with the message that British beef is back. I expect the French government to stop dragging its feet and comply with the EU's decision. They are obviously scared of our superior beef."

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