Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/russia/poland : Merkel Predicts That the Russian Ban Will Be Lifted before May

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/russia/poland : Merkel Predicts That the Russian Ban Will Be Lifted before May

Article excerpt

Despite intensive efforts by the German Presidency of the EU, the problem of the Russian embargo of Polish meat is still unresolved. German Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes, however, that the agreement will be achieved before the forthcoming EU-Russia summit in May.

"The very intensive work is ongoing. Progress is being made step by step. I'm an optimist and I think that we will be able to start negotiations on the new EU-Russia agreement during Germany's [six-month] Presidency [of the EU]," said Merkel after her meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on 21 January.

"It is possible that we will move forward before the forthcoming EU-Russia summit [scheduled for 18 May in Russia]," she added.

Putin stressed that Moscow wants to work constructively to achieve an agreement with Poland. He underlined his full support for intensive bilateral talks between Russia and Poland, stating that "direct contact is the most appropriate tool for resolving problems". He did not, however, refer to Merkel's optimistic prediction that the Polish-Russian row can be resolved before May.

Merkel's visit to Russia was preceded by three days of technical consultations on the meat embargo and a political meeting between Russian and EU high level representatives in Berlin.

The technical talks held by the representatives of the European Commission, Russia and Poland in the margins of the International Green Week in Berlin on 17-19 January were only partly successful. The ban on Polish meat exports to Russia has not been lifted. …

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