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Brussels, 7 February 2014
European Commission calls once more on the Russian Federation to engage in constructive talks on the issue of the Russian ban on EU pig exports - Statement by Health Commissioner, Tonio Borg
“On the 24 January, African Swine Fever (ASF) was detected in two wild boars in southern Lithuania, an area that borders with Belarus. Immediate action was taken to prevent the further spread of the disease from the infected areas in Lithuania.
Latest scientific evidence shows that these two Lithuanian cases of ASF are linked to the unsuccessful attempts to control the prolonged presence of ASF in the western regions of Russia and the recent introduction of the disease in Belarus. No information or evidence has been provided by the Russians about measures taken to contain any risk of further spread of the disease into the EU.
Russia has imposed unprecedented trade restrictions on the export of pigs and pig meat from all 28 EU Member States, even though the occurrence of the disease is restricted to only a limited area of Lithuania. These restrictions, apart from having a serious economic impact on European business operators, are also disproportionate and contrary to international trade principles.
Imposed two weeks ago by Russia, this trade embargo continues to apply despite an as yet unsuccessful request to meet my Russian counterpart and hold discussions at senior official and technical level. Attempts to agree on a basis for cooperation which includes limiting the trade restriction solely to the infected area have so far been rejected. I call once more on the Russian Federation to engage in constructive talks on the issue in view of finding a satisfactory resolution.
I have asked my services to further explore with the Russian experts the best way forward to ensure the immediate application of regionalization and I reiterate my readiness to swiftly travel to Moscow to reach an amicable solution to resume trade flows.
Finally, I repeat that in view of the reassurances provided, the surveillance and control efforts made, and the outstanding health status of all non-affected EU regions, a blanket ban is completely disproportionate".