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28th Feb 2021

MEPs say Russian trade bans 'unacceptable'

  • MEPs condemned what they called Russia's bullying tactics (Photo: Boris SV)

MEPs in a debate on Wednesday (9 October) condemned Russia's recent trade ban on Lithuanian dairy imports, the latest in a series of bans seen as attempts to torpedo the EU's Eastern Partnership policy.

Lithuanian trucks entering Russia in recent months have been stopped by custom officers and subjected to lengthy checks, causing losses of over €2 million a day, according to the Lithuanian national association of road carriers.

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On Monday, Moscow announced it halted all dairy imports from Lithuania and threatened to expand the ban on fish and meat products.

The move comes after a similar ban was imposed last month on Moldovan wine and Ukranian chocolates. Georgian wine has been subject to import caps since Tuesday (8 October).

Lithuanian MEP Leonidas Donskis called Russia's actions a "campaign of revenge" and an attempt to punish Lithuania, which is chairing the EU presidency and is organising a high level meeting with the EU's eastern neighbours next month.

At the so-called Eastern Partnership summit, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia hope to upgrade their relations with the EU.

German MEP Daniel Caspary urged the EU commission not only to look at Russia's actions from an economic perspective, but to see them as an attempt to derail the Eastern Partnership.

"We need a common European response," he said.

Other MEPs said the trade bans are in breach of Russia's recent membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said Moscow has yet to give an explanation for these measures.

He promised to raise the question in the WTO council next week and to ask the Russian EU ambassador for clarifications.

WTO to decide on 'illegal' Russian car tax

The WTO will decide later this month whether to set up an arbitration panel on what the EU described as an "illegal measure" by Russia against the bloc's car industry.

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