A proposal to prolong the special market support measures in the beef sector known as the "special purchase scheme" - has today been adopted by the European Commission. The scheme, introduced as part of the Commission`s "7-point plan" in mid-April, is one of the measures designed to ease the short-term pressures on the beef and veal market caused by the BSE crisis. Initially intended to run until the end of 2001, this decision foresees its continuation until 31 March 2002. "The legacy of the BSE crisis still hangs over us, and we must continue to address the problems that it has caused for the market," said Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries in a statement today. "Given its part so far in redressing a balance between consumption and production, it would be unwise to terminate the "special purchase scheme" prematurely. We still have some way to go. Although the market situation for some categories has improved satisfactorily, a substantial number of cows linked to the beef crisis but not slaughtered in 2001, is expected to be brought to the market in the first quarter of 2002."