Monday

19th Aug 2019

Russia bans Moldova wine ahead of EU summit

  • Russia says wines from Moldova do not meet its standards. (Photo: Ben Roffer)

Russia has imposed an import ban on Moldovan wines and spirits citing health concerns, but critics say it is designed to stop the ex-Soviet republic’s EU aspirations.

The import ban, announced on Tuesday (10 September), starts Wednesday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Russia's public health chief Gennady Onishchenko said Moldova had been informed on numerous occasions to improve the quality of its products but never did.

"The ban is a necessary step that we have undertaken reluctantly, but it is the only possible way of solving the present situation," he said, according to the Interfax news agency.

A high-ranking Moldovan official, who asked not to be named, told this website that Russia has a history of imposing bans to exercise political pressure on Moldova’s “sovereign choices.”

He noted that the Moldovan wines blacklisted by Russia meet EU standards.

“We don’t only export to the Russian federation but also to the European market because we have compliance,” he said.

He said the ban, imposed on the most popular Moldovan brands, comes as a surprise.

“The Patriarch of the Russian church was here and immediately the next day he leaves, we hear about the embargoes, and that is after the minister of agriculture was in Moscow and discussed about the conditions of exports and when he came back he was sure an embargo would not be imposed,” the Moldovan official said.

He added that the government is hoping the EU will help exercise political pressure on the Russian Federation to scrap the embargo.

The EU is hoping to conclude pacts with a handful of former Soviet republics at its "Eastern Partnership" summit in Vilnius in November.

But Russia, for its part, has launched a rival Customs Union, with an aim of regrouping some the same countries into its own free trade circle.

The Customs Union currently includes Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.

But Moscow wants Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan to also join and to transform the structure into a political bloc, the Eurasian Union, in 2015.

In a surprise move, Armenia backed out the EU plans earlier this month and announced it would join the Customs Union. Georgia’s Prime Minister has also expressed interest in the Kremlin’s offer.

Ukraine has said it will not submit to pressure from Moscow to scrap an EU trade agreement to be signed in Vilnius.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Ukraine it will take "protective measures" if it signs the EU pact.

In August, it already stopped Ukrainian products from crossing its border for around a week, causing alarm.

Opinion

Moldova should initial EU pact

Initialing the EU association and free trade pact in Vilnius is Moldova's best chance to build a decent future for its people.

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  2. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  3. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  4. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  5. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  6. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'
  7. EU has 'zero incentive' to break open 'trilogue' deals
  8. Denmark plans import ban on EU-approved pesticide

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us