RIGA - The Agriculture Ministry announced it would summarize information about losses to agricultural businesses through the Russian ban on imports of EU-made animal-based food products by June 21 and would demand partial compensation of damages from the European Commission.
"As the European Commission failed to reach a timely agreement with Russia on the terms for export of food of animal origin, causing Russia to ban imports of EU-made food of animal origin for several days, the ministry will claim from the European Commission partial compensation of damages to Latvian exporters," informed Agriculture Minister Martins Roze.
He did not rule out further direct contacts with the Russian Agriculture Ministry and competent authorities in dealing with exports of Latvian-made food of animal origin to Russia.
"We ourselves have to defend the interests of our farmers and agricultural producers, especially in conditions where we have good experience in such talks, but the European Commission's actions are inefficient," said the minister.
He said he would again offer to send Latvian experts to the EU-Russian talks on EU-made food.
Russia lifted the ban on imports of the EU-made food of animal original one week after it was suddenly introduced on June 1, citing the lack of an agreement with the EU on veterinary certificates as the reason. Russia wanted all EU-made products to have a uniform certificate, while the EU insisted on sticking to the current procedure with every individual member state guaranteeing food quality.
The ban was lifted only after European Commission President Romano Prodi spoke with President Vladimir Puton over the phone. Russia agreed to keep to the previous procedure for import of the EU-made animal-origin food until Sept. 30, 2004.