The European Commission has withdrawn its application to the European Court of Justice for the imposition of a daily fine on France for failure to lift its British beef embargo.

France was taken to the European Court of Justice over accusations that the its six-year-long ban on British beef imports was illegal. In December last year the court ordered France to lift the ban, but France refused to comply.

Recently, just as France was facing a fine of €160,000 (US$161,000) a day, the ban was lifted following advice by the French food safety agency AFSSA that British beef no longer posed a risk to health.

The Commission has decided that it is satisfied that France has now fulfilled the conditions of EU legislation and so its compliance with EU law has been achieved.

A British Conservative member of the European Parliament said the Commission had failed to protect the interests of British beef producers who for years had no access to what was once Britain's most important export market in the EU.

"The news that the Commission has decided to cave in and let France off the hook over its illegal ban on British beef is nothing less than a cheat's charter," Neil Parish was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"The Commission has now given a clear signal that it is acceptable to flout EU law for over three years and get away scot-free...This is bad news for British beef farmers who have seen their industry decimated thanks to the French Government."