The European Commission has begun legal action against France, charging that it has breached EU regulations by permitting over 50,000 tonnes of bananas to be imported at reduced rates of customs duties instead of the 4,000 tonnes it is entitled to. Gregor Kreuzhuber, spokesman for agriculture commissioner Franz Fishchler, said that under the new regime for bananas following the deal struck with the US earlier this year, following the long running WTO dispute over Caribbean bananas, import figures were set for each Member State. France’s move could have adverse financial consequences for the EU as the excess French imports could depress the price for bananas, he said. The case could end up in the European Court of Justice, if France refuses to comply.

By Alan Osborn, correspondent

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