Sunday

28th Aug 2016

Russia imposes retaliatory sanctions on EU

Moscow is slapping a ban on EU-imported fruit and vegetables and food from the US in retaliation for western economic sanctions.

A Russian decree published Wednesday (6 August) called upon government officials to put forward a list of agricultural products and raw materials to be banned for up to one year.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Putin signed a decree on Wednesday to ban some food imports from the EU (Photo: World Economic Forum)

The decree does not list the specific products or name the countries although the government is expected to announce the full list on Thursday.

But Russia's food safety watchdog VPSS, Alexei Alexeenko, was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying fruit and vegetables from member states backing the EU sanctions would be blacklisted.

"Fruits and vegetables from the European Union will also be under full ban," he said.

According to RIA Novosti, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Slovakia, and Spain could be on the Russian list.

Among the products cited by country are meats, poultry, fish, drinks and coffee.

Poland was already targeted last month when Moscow announced it would no longer import Polish apples, pears, cherries, nectarines, plums, and varieties of cabbage. The Russian government cited health and sanitary reasons.

The latest ban also hits import products from the US, and possibly Canada, and Australia.

The measures are seen as a tit-for-tat response to broad economic sanctions recently imposed on Russia by the European Union.

The EU’s so-called stage three sanctions ban financial instruments by Russian-state-owned banks, enact a non-retroactive arms embargo, and impose export limitations on dual-use technologies.

The European Commission says the EU stands to lose €40 billion this year alone from the stage three sanctions and that the amount is set to increase to €50 billion next year.

The effect of the sanctions has already caused unease in some EU states, with Finland saying it will potentially seek compensation.

“It is without doubt clear that, if sanctions hit Finland disproportionately, we will seek support from our European partners,” said Finland’s prime minister Alexander Stubb.

Russia is Finland’s largest trading partner, according to the Finnish-Russian Chamber of Commerce. Total Finnish exports last year to Russia amounted to €5.4 billion. Around 7.5 percent was food and drink, reports Finnish state broadcaster YLE.

As the EU’s third largest trading partner, Russia is one of the biggest importers of fruit and vegetables grown by member states. In 2013, it imported around €2 billion worth of fruit and vegetables.

In terms of overall trade, last year the EU exported some €120 billion in goods and another €28 billion in services to Russia.

Agricultural products accounted for around €12 billion of the EU exports, according to the European Commission.

Meanwhile as the sanctions battle steps up, Nato has estimated that some 20,000 Russian combat-ready soldiers are now stationed near the border with Ukraine.

Poland has said there is now a greater risk that Russia will make a direct intervention in Ukraine.

"We have reasons to suspect – we have been receiving such information in the last several hours – that the risk of a direct intervention is higher than it was several days ago,” said prime minister Donald Tusk.

Slovakia's Fico goes to Russia

The Slovak prime minister, whose country currently chairs the EU council, will meet the Russian leader ahead of upcoming EU talks on Russia policy.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey