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Eurotrash - The latest from Brussels


Fish quotas: sinking our fleets
Strict EU quotas threaten the extinction of fishing fleets. In the past 12 years 1,000 small boats have disappeared from British ports. Remaining fishermen are now struggling to chase the 3 per cent of the allowed catch of valuable fish species, including cod, haddock and monkfish.

Now they're targeting our mince
The European Commission wants to ban wholesalers from selling beef mince from carcases slaughtered more than six days previously. Quality British beef is traditionally hung for 28 days to enrich flavour. Around 20 per cent of the carcase is used for mince: the rule would render our quality beef industry uneconomic. The regulation is designed to protect the French, who eat steak tartare (raw minced beef). In Britain mince is cooked. The British Food Standards Agency says there is no evidence that 28-day hung beef kept well chilled poses any risk to health.

Renewable targets
EU targets for renewable energy will add £465 a year to British family energy bills. To meet those targets the government has revived plans for the Severn Barrage, costing £20 billion; building 10,000 wind turbines instead would not be possible. One modern nuclear power station costing £2.7 billion could generate almost as much electricity as the barrage.

How about another billion?
BRITAIN'S net financial contribution to the EU will rise by almost £1 billion this year to more than £4 billion. Gordon Brown told us in last year's budget that the amount would be £3.3 billion. Even larger net payments are due in coming years: £6.1 billion in 2008-09 and £6.4 billion in 2009-10. The rises result from Blair's 2005 agreement, backed by Brown, to cuts in our rebate.

EU outlaws union agreements
THE EU'S European Court of Justice has decided foreign companies don't have to follow collective agreements. with unions In the Ruffert case on 3 April, it ruled in favour of free labour movement and against a German law requiring a Polish company to pay according to the regional collective agreement with unions rather than the national minimum wage.