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EU/Russia Meat Row Erupts

by 5m Editor
9 May 2008, at 11:15am

EU - The European Union's executive arm yesterday said that a Russian ban on European meat was disproportionate and should therefore be alleviated.

"The (European) Commission maintains that EU meat does not pose a risk to the consumer and that the measures taken by Russia are disproportionate," a spokeswoman for EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said in a statement.

"Therefore, the Commission has requested Russia to review its measures," the statement said.

Russia, a major consumer of western European meat, has introduced a series of company-specific bans on pork, beef and poultry imports in the last few weeks after determining that antibiotic levels in meat shipments exceeded safe limits.

This week Lithuania and Poland agreed to coordinate their strategies on whether to agree further European talks on an EU-Russia partnership pact, Lithuania's government information bureau said Thursday.

Poland, which has previously held up negotiations in a meat export row with Russia, now has agreed to coordinate with the Lithuanian position.

"Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas and Polish Premier Donald Tusk in a telephone conversation discussed the situation on the mandate for the EU talks with Russia and agreed to coordinate their positions," the statement said.

"Kirkilas stressed that Lithuania, like other EU members, aims to begin the talks, but wants the mandate to include the issues discussed previously and not responded by Russia," it added.

Lithuania has demanded that a number of sensitive issues be included in the EU's negotiation mandate for talks with Russia on a new partnership agreement before giving its green light.

5m Editor