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Brussels, 31 January 2014
On-going discussions with Russian Federation on ban of EU pig meat - Statement by Health Commissioner, Tonio Borg
"Following the confirmation of 2 cases of African swine fever in wild boar in Lithuania on Friday 24th January, interim protective measures have been swiftly adopted by the Commission to regionalise the infected area within Lithuania. On the basis of this decision, the Lithuanian authorities immediately applied all restrictions required by EU legislation.
The Commission has deployed since Monday 28th January, a team of veterinary experts to assist and advise the Lithuanian authorities. This team has been joined by Russian and Belarussian experts and experts from the World Organisation for Animal Health. It appears that the virus in Lithuania originates from neighbouring non-EU countries where the disease was not contained.
At the same time, the Commission has been in constant contact with the Russian authorities over the past days to apply "regionalization" in accordance with WTO/SPS rules and World Organisation for Animal Health principles. In this framework, the Commission has proposed to provisionally exclude the infected area of the EU from certification of exports of live pigs and pork to Russia, but Russia is not ready to accept. Yesterday, the Russian authorities were again given assurances on the effectiveness of EU measures and provided with evidence indicating that the disease is confined to the southern part of Lithuania.
I would like to stress that the measures taken on the EU side correspond to international standards. I call again upon the Russian authorities to take into account all the evidence presented to them, including the results of the on the spot inspections. I will today resubmit our proposal on regionalisation.
I deeply regret that our Russian partners are effectively banning exports even from EU Member States which are clearly not affected by the incident. The Commission reiterates that in view of the reassurances provided, such a ban is disproportionate.
I intend to meet the Russian authorities as soon as possible to agree on a reasonable solution to solve this problem."