EU agriculture chief: EU to speak with one voice with Russia about trade sanctions

DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

“As agreed in the Council”, we will maintain solidarity as we seek to make sure that those would be the EU’s and Russia’s negotiations over sanitary and phytosanitary problems, which have been going on since February 2014. If Russia’s officials want to negotiate these issues with the EU, they are very much welcome. However, they should understand that Europe is unified, he said at a news conference.

Meanwhile Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, on Monday issued a press release stating that the European Commission had always supported and would support the principle of solidarity and sought to make sure that any potential relaxation of trade restrictions was applied to all member states, with no discrimination.

According to Andriukaitis, technical discussions held in Berlin a week ago between the heads of the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety and Russia’s veterinary service centered around a possibility to lift trade restrictions for certain food products, including fat, lard and other meat products.

Trade restrictions could be lifted since Russia has no arguments to explain its claims that these products do not comply with phytosanitary requirements. Such a lifting of restrictions should be applied to all EU countries together. Technical discussions have not been ended, nothing has been agreed thus far,” Andriukaitis said.

Russia earlier said that it had agreed to resume trade with certain EU countries (France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands and Hungary) in technical discussions.

Andriukaitis believes that Russia wants to compromise the European Union’s unity with such actions. He points out that the Commission neither supports nor encourages bilateral agreements on the resumption of trade between individual EU countries and Russia.

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