French fines reduced

The European Court of Justice has reduced fines imposed on the French beef federations by the European Commission.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has reduced, from €15.96m to €11.97m, fines levied by the European Commission on the main French beef federations for suspending beef imports into France in 2001 and setting minimum purchase prices for certain beef lines.

The Commission fined the federations because it believed this to break European Union (EU) competition rules.

The five federations (including the Fédération Nationale Bovine) appealed to the ECJ, but it has largely backed the Commission, but concluded there were mitigating factors, namely the need to protect the French beef industry from new European cases of BSE in 2000.

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