European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, David Byrne, indicated that he had "had constructive contacts with the German government and the signs are positive". "However, I must ensure that EU law is respected, particularly given the long delay in Germany's response to lifting the ban on British beef", he added. The Commissioner hoped to "avoid a legal confrontation if Germany complies quickly with the law". The Commission opened proceedings against France on January 4 at the European Court of Justice for the same reason (European Report No 2462).On September 10, 1999, the Directorate-General for Agriculture sent a letter to the German authorities about their delay in implementing Decisions on the United Kingdom's Date-Based Export Scheme (DBES). On November 17, 1999, a pre-infringement letter was sent to the German government and in its December 3 reply, Berlin promised to meet its legal obligations. On December 15, German Minister Andrea Fischer sent Commissioner David Byrne a brief letter on the beef issue, but it was not until December 22 that the German authorities sent a copy of the draft...

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