Poland/Russia row threatens EU energy deal

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Poland/Russia row threatens EU energy deal

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Finland’s Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has said that an effort to solve an export row between Poland and Russia has so far come to nothing. This means that Warsaw could still oppose talks on a new Partnership Agreement between the EU and Moscow.

With Finland currently holding the EU Presidency, the job had fallen to Vanhanen to settle the rift.

The row centres on Moscow’s import bans on Polish meat and vegetables. Poland says the embargo is purely political and will cost its economy 400 million euros per year

Russia started the ban after finding some veterinary certificates were forged. EU inspectors have been deployed to ensure that Poland has tightened controls, but Russia wants its own inspection team to verify the results.

Poland wants a re-opening of Russian markets or it could scupper an agreement on talks for an EU-Russia pact, due to be signed in Helsinki next Friday. The agreement must be signed by all EU member states.

European analysts see the agreement as vital to secure energy supplies from Russia.

Warsaw wants Moscow to ratify a charter on energy dealings. Other EU countries decided last month to push for just some of the charter’s main points.

The Poles had been saying the import ban was aimed at splitting the EU.

Russia had accused Poland of blackmail, but the Poles had declarations of support from Lithuania and France.