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AGRICULTURE : INFRINGEMENT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST GREECE FOR ANIMAL IMPORT BAN.

At the beginning of March, Greece decided to introduce a national ban on importing fattening lambs and kids (goats) from Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, and from all non-EU countries. Given that intra-Community trade and rules for imports of animals and animal products are harmonised, unilateral bans of this nature are in breach of Community law. The European Commission therefore decided, on 28 March, to open emergency infringement proceedings against Greece by sending it a letter of formal notice.

According to the decision adopted by the Greek minister of agriculture, Greek veterinary authorities may grant import permits for lambs and kids from these countries if they are to be slaughtered immediately but not for fattening. Moreover, the Greek authorities have introduced a system whereby lambs or kids from other member states must be in possession of an import permit before they are allowed into Greece. The restrictions have led to serious concerns amongst many Greek operators, who contacted the Commission to complain about substantial financial losses caused as a direct result of this measure.

Directive 91/68/EEC provides for complete harmonisation of intra-Community trade in live ovine and caprine animals. This means that, provided the conditions laid down in the directive are satisfied, member states are not allowed to impose further conditions or any barriers to imports of such animals from other parts of the EU. With regard to imports from non-EU countries, Directive 2004/68/EC establishes strict health requirements for any live ungulate animals being imported into or transported through the EU.

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Publication:European Report
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUGR
Date:Mar 30, 2007
Words:254
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