The future of Bass could be decided by the European Court of Justice following intervention by the Belgian government. Belgium is stepping into the battle for Bass with a legal challenge against the UK Competition Commission's decision to block its takeover by Interbrew. The giant Belgian brewer which successfully bought the Whitbread brewing operation last year is keeping tight lipped about this latest move. But a fight in the courts could buy it much needed time to continue negotiations and find a buyer for Bass. The Belgian government is taking the issue to the European court in six weeks claiming UK DTI minister Stephen Byers' decision to block the bid goes against European Union law. And the court could take 18 months to make a decision. It specifically objected to the ruling that Interbrew must sell Bass to a single approved bidder. Interbrew paid £2.3bn for Bass and the City believes it will be lucky to get more than £1.8bn if it is forced to sell. Interbrew had hoped to hang on to parts of Bass and sell off the remainder to recoup some of its losses. There are rumours, unconfirmed by Interbrew, that it was discussing a deal with South African Breweries. The DTI said this week: "We are confident the European Commission's decision to refer the merger back to the UK, and our decision to block the merger, were taken correctly and in accordance with the law's procedures." In a separate move Interbrew has asked the High Court to review the Competition Commission's action. {{NEWS }}