asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from the Farmers Union of Wales, and the National Farmers Union in Wales regarding a sheepmeat regime; and if he will make a statement.
Through my colleague the Secretary of State for Wales I am in regular contact with the Farmers Union of Wales and the National Farmers Union in Wales. I am fully aware of their concern about the effects of the French restrictions on exports of United Kingdom sheepmeat, which have been condemned by the European Court, and I am naturally concerned that any sheep-meat regime should meet the essential interests of our producers, as well as of our consumers and our New Zealand suppliers of frozen lamb.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what retaliatory action the Government are considering in the event of French nonobservance of the recent decision of the European Court, declaring illegal the French ban on sheepmeat imports from the United Kingdom.
I do not believe that retaliatory action by the United Kingdom is the right response if France continues to ignore the judgment of the European Court. The European Commission is responsible for upholding the treaties of the European Communities, and I am pressing the Agriculture Commissioner to take immediate action with the French Government to ensure that the judgment of the European Court is respected.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will order an investigation into sheepmeat distribution margins.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he has taken to persuade the French Government to abide by the decision of the European Court and allow the import of Welsh lamb into France.
I have received a letter from the French Minister of Agriculture about imports of United Kingdom sheepmeat into France. The letter does not state clearly or categorically that the French Government propose to comply with the recent decision of the European Court. I have asked the Minister whether he intends permanently to allow free access to the French market free of all levies and restrictions. From the information I have received it appears that this is not the case and, if so, the Community remains in a situation of crisis. I wrote to Commissioner Gundelach on 26 October asking him to intervene again to seek French compliance with the court's ruling. I shall continue to press this matter by every possible means.