U.K. Prime Minister John Major accepted a European Commission plan to end the ban on British beef exports, European leaders said.
"The commission proposal was acceptable for Major," Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok said. Prime Minister John Major's office and a spokeswoman for the French president confirmed the agreement.As part of the agreement, the U.K. will end its policy of noncooperation within the European Union, through which it had blocked EU measures requiring unanimous votes. As part of that policy, Major was threatening not to endorse any of the decisions at the EU summit being held in Florence, where the agreement was announced.
"As of this moment, the noncooperation policy ceases," said Malcolm Rifkind, the British foreign minister.
The plan agreed to by Britain and the rest of the EU was devised by the European Commission, the EU's executive body. It calls for a step-by-step removal of the ban on British beef exports, Piero Fassino, undersecretary of the Italian foreign ministry, said.
It also calls for an increase in monetary support for EU beef farmers, to 850 million European currency units ($1.05 billion) from 650 million Ecus, Fassino said.
The ban of exports of British beef began three months ago after Britain acknowledged that "mad cow" disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, could be linked to a fatal brain ailment in humans. Four weeks ago, the U.K. began its policy of blocking EU action, protesting the ban.