Romano Prodi, the president of the European Commission, has vowed to support Britain in its fight against the French ban on British beef.

Speaking with British PM Tony Blair over breakfast last Friday, Prodi reportedly promised to do all he could to insist that France honours a ruling by the European Court of Justice that the ban is illegal.

A spokesman for Blair explained that Prodi promised, "the Commission would want to see European law upheld" and that it "will be doing all it can to ensure that that happens as speedily as possible".

The two leaders were in the Spanish city of Barcelona for an EU summit.