Thegave conditional approval to French and Dutch plans to vaccinate millions of their poultry against bird flu, the first time it has endorsed such moves.
"The vaccination programmes are authorised only for specific birds in specified regions, and will be subject to rigorous surveillance and control requirements," the commission said in a statement.
"These include movement restrictions, strict monitoring of vaccinated flocks to ensure that there is no undetected outbreak of avian influenza, and careful record-keeping."
"Crucially, though these vaccines protect against disease, they will not prevent birds from becoming infected and shedding virus," Deputy Chief Vet Fred Landeg said in a statement issued by the ministry.
"Because symptoms of disease would be masked, the hidden presence of disease would pose a serious problem," he added.
Today Austria announced the first H5N1 infection in poultry in the EU.