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Comment on the statement Rosselkhoznadzor EU Commissioner Phil Hogan at the plenary session of European Parliament

Apr 21, 2016

Speaking at the plenary session of the European Parliament at a meeting on measures to overcome the crisis in the agrarian sector of the EU Commissioner for agriculture Phil Hogan said: “The Commission has and is continuing to make every effort to lift the protectionist ban imposed by Russia on pig products from the EU.  Over recent months and in parallel with the WTO procedure, the Commission has made numerous efforts to convince Russia to engage in meaningful technical negotiations for an agreed solution at EU level. We also made clear that we are ready to examine any concrete proposal Russia submitted to the EU.”

In this connection the Rosselkhoznadzor considers it necessary to recall that in early 2014, after the first outbreaks of African swine fever in Lithuania and Poland, it proposed to the Commission to ensure security of supply of pork products from the territory of the European Union spend the equivalent measures applied by the Russia and its Customs Union partners, namely the regionalisation of the disease and to negotiate agreement on a new form of veterinary certificate between the European Commission and the Commission of the Eurasian Union. The European Commission did not accept any of these proposals.

While the European Commission is strongly opposed to direct contacts national veterinary services of individual EU countries with Rosselkhoznadzor. These services, taking into account the interest of the agricultural sector of their economies and their specific characteristics, are ready to provide to the Russian side an additional security guarantees for supply of products from their territory.

In practical terms, the resumption of imports of pork from EU countries is possible only if a veterinary certificate will be issued by the national veterinary service of the exporting country, a member of the EU, indicating that such country is free from African swine fever for the last three years

This practice in EU has long existed — for example, when exports of pork products from Finland to Hong Kong and China, from Italy to China and New Zealand, from Austria to Korea, from Belgium to Korea and China, etc.

Despite the existence of such practices in other States, the European Commission prohibits European countries interested in the supply of pork to the Russian market, make bilateral veterinary certificates.

In this regard, attempts to put the responsibility for the interruption of the supply of pork products from EU countries to Russia on Russia itself, looks strange.

It is the position of the European Commission led to the cessation of supplies of European pork products to Russia and other countries of the Eurasian Union, and to the fact that Russian importers of pork products were forced to organize the supply of pork from other continents quickly.

“We cannot agree also with the European Commissioner Hogan that the protective measures are "protectionist" or, according to other European officials, "excessive".

If at the beginning of 2014, the European Commission assured the Rosselkhoznadzor that the outbreak of African swine fever in Poland and the Baltic States are "isolated" and that the measures taken to prevent the spread of the disease are "effective" and will promptly lead to its eradication, at the present time the number of cases of African swine fever in the Baltic States and Poland exceeded 2000, and the veterinary authorities of the European Union discuss in detail the threat of penetration of the disease in Hungary, Slovakia and Germany

This should take into account the embeddedness of the virus in wild boar populations in Poland and the Baltic States, and the absence of an effective system of control and traceability of animal products on the internal market of the European Union. Thus, existing risks, in case of refusal of the European Commission from constructive cooperation, to prove the correctness and adequacy imposed by the Rosselkhoznadzor restrictive measures.

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