National Farmers' Union v. Secretariat General du Gouvernement (Case C-241/01)
Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECJ)
22 October 2002
PARTIES: National Farmers' Union and Secrétariat général du gouvernement Interveners: British Government and European Commission
In 1996, the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a progressive neurological disease, widespread in the United Kingdom. After that a link between this and a variant of a particular disease affecting human beings ( Creutzfeldt-Jacob) has been discovered, the European Commission adopts Decision 96/239/EC prohibiting British exports of bovine meat to other Member States and third countries. This Decision is based on Directive 90/425/EEC and on Directive 89/662/EEC, related to veterinary checks applicable in intra-Community trade. Subsequently, the Commission issues Decision 98/256, repealing the previous Decision and later amended by Decision 98/692, authorizing the resumption of exports of some bovine products from UK under a Date-based Export Scheme (DBES) and providing for the necessary rules in order to protect the public health. Decision 99/514 sets the date on which dispatch should start at 1 August 1999.
In the French legal framework, the embargo on British bovine products is established in a national decree of 1998, followed by another decree in order to authorize just the products in transit (1999). Before the Conseil d'État, the National Farmers' Union applies for overruling the French Government’s implicit decision of rejection of their request aimed at lifting of the ban. The French Government argues that the ban is necessary in the light of new significant factor, for instance, plausible health risks feared by the French Agency for Food Safety. Moreover, the French Government points out that have become acquainted with it at a time when it could not challenge the EC measure in question, because the Article 230 time limit had expired. By contrast, it...
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