An EU-Russia summit will go ahead in Helsinki this Friday but a complaint by Poland over a ban on its imports means the European Union will not be able to launch negotiations with Russia on a new partnership agreement. Poland vetoed starting those talks.
At a pre-summit press conference, President Vladimir Putin defended his country’s ban on imports of Polish meat. He said Moscow would not extend the ban across the whole of the EU but that it did have some problems with Romania and Bulgaria’s food hygiene standards. They are set to join the bloc in January. Warsaw has stuck by its demand that Moscow lift a more-than-year-long embargo on imports of Polish meat and other food products in a dispute over fraudulent veterinary certificates.
The EU says the ban is unacceptable. Putin said the Polish authorities were mis-managing exports of meat from other countries through their own territory. EU officials insisted there were plenty of other issues on the summit agenda. The new EU-Russia strategic partnership talks, when they do get started, are due to cover trade, political cooperation, human rights, migration and energy.