EU diplomatic sources are warning that the bloc’s credibility with Russia is at risk unless Poland lifts its objections to a new EU-Russia cooperation pact. In the foreign ministers council, Warsaw insisted that the EU demand Russia lift a ban of Polish food imports before negotiations on a broader agreement can start.
The Russian ban was in response to forged veterinary certificates. Poland believes the EU is not doing enough to help it in its increasingly strained relations with Russia. The EU’s external relations commissioner said the majority of EU states feared the lack of a negotiating mandate would undermine a summit with Russia this November 24.
Brussels said the summit will take place even if no mandate is agreed. Poland also insists that Russia ratify an energy charter with the EU. This includes commitments on energy supplies and better investors’ access to Russia’s sector. Moscow has refused so far. A meeting between EU leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki is due to launch talks on a wide-ranging agreement including energy, trade and human rights.