Poland slams EU nations that 'grovelled' to Russia over ban
Poland's deputy prime minister, Waldemar Pawlak, on Friday blasted Russia for its ban on its vegetable imports and slammed those EU members who have "grovelled" to Moscow to have it lifted.
"Russia's actions are unacceptable in European trade terms, just like those of certain European countries who have sneaked up and grovelled in order to get special treatment," Pawlak, who is also economy minister, was quoted as saying by Polish news agency PAP.
European Union vegetable exports to Russia, worth a total of 600 million euros ($859 million) a year, normally account for about a quarter of the EU's annual sales abroad.
On June 2, however, Russia banned vegetable imports from the 27-nation EU citing Germany's killer E. coli outbreak.
The EU's main exporters of vegetables to Russia include Poland, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Belgium.
Since the ban was imposed, Spain, Denmark, The Netherlands and Belgium have persuaded Moscow to lift the ban on their produce.
Pawlak said that flew in the face of EU solidarity.
"It's time for the EU to act like a united market," he said, adding that it was wrong for EU producers to "be hit by limits imposed by trade partners in other regions of the world based simply on the country of origin."
Poland is currently at the helm of the EU, having taken over the bloc's six-month rotating presidency on July 1.
Poland's deputy agriculture minister, Jaroslaw Wojtowicz, was visiting Moscow Friday to try to resolve the issue on behalf of the entire EU.
© 2011 AFP