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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Fails to End Ban on Meat

VedomostiDankvert said deadlines would be set if the EU fails to take proper measures.
The European Union has failed to persuade Russia to end a ban on Polish meat and plant product imports, the head of the government's animal and plant health watchdog said Tuesday.

"We have not received answers to all the concrete questions we asked," Sergei Dankvert said after talks with EU officials in Moscow.

"We agreed that the European Union will prepare the answers in the next couple of weeks, after which we will start planning another meeting in Moscow or in Brussels."

Moscow banned Polish meat and plant products more than one year ago on health grounds. Warsaw called the ban politically motivated, and blocked talks between the EU and Russia on a new cooperation pact until the ban was lifted.

"We want the EU to answer concrete questions, to take measures and to produce a mechanism preventing such things in the future," Dankvert said, referring to shipments of dubious products from third countries via Poland to Russia.

Earlier Tuesday, the EU executive commission said Russia's detailed complaints about the safety of Polish meat and meat products did not represent a real cause for concern and did not justify any trade ban.

"In the commission's view, none of the deficiencies raised by the Russian authorities are systemic nor do they justify in our view a trade embargo," commission spokesman Philip Tod said.

Concerns over the safety of meat and plant products have soured relations between Russia and the EU for several years since the bloc started adopting new members through which, Russia has said, animal and plant products of doubtful origin could be shipped.

Dankvert said the EU had agreed to present by March 31 plans for monitoring residues of dangerous and banned substances in live animals, products and feed, as well as results of monitoring in 2006.

The EU "said they will not be able to provide all documents in Russian, and we agreed that they will be in English," Dankvert said.

Earlier this month Russia threatened to ban some meat product imports if the documents were not provided by the end of March.

Dankvert said the EU had also agreed to provide the monitoring results for dangerous substances in plant products.

"We have not set any deadlines, but if the EU drags its feet, we will set them," he said.

"We have also asked the commission to take measures against shipping products containing pesticides as we have discovered pesticides in some shipments of plant products from Spain and Italy," Dankvert told reporters Tuesday.