French food safety agency the AFSSA is to review France's ban on UK beef.
French president Jacques Chirac confirmed the AFSSA was due to issue a reappraisal of the embargo before the end of June. He made the statement after pm Tony Blair challenged him at a working dinner on Wednesday.
A confident Blair welcomed the decision at a press conference on Thursday.
A spokesman for the MLC's Paris office said: "We have been waiting six years for this.
"But the ban was political, so it went way above our heads. It goes back to the French beef industry in 1995. Beef prices were low and farmers were protesting so the French government had to react ­ BSE was the perfect opportunity.
"But the British meat chain has done everything required to protect consumer health and the safety measures currently in place have been very efficient. We're confident we'll see a change, because the quality of UK meat is now far above everything else in Europe."
The NFU in Brussels said: "We welcome the review."

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