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Russian watchdog says country won't be left without flowers for September 1

August 13, 2015, 19:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Earlier, the head of watchdog, Sergey Dankvert, said that he does not exclude seeking "extreme measures" on flower import from the European Union
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© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

MOSCOW, August 13. / TASS / Russia won't be without flowers for the upcoming September 1 beginning of school year holiday, because of the inspections of flowers from the Netherlands, said Alexey Alekseenko, the aid to the head of Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) in an interview on the Russian TV channel Rossiya-24 on Thursday.

"I don't think that we'll be without flowers for the holidays, especially now that we are only talking about flowers grown in the Netherlands. It's a limited category," Alekseenko said.

Traditionally in Russia, school children bring flowers to teachers on the first day of school, September 1. As far as flower sales, the holiday is as important for vendors as Valentine's Day, or Woman's Day on March 8th.

Earlier, the head of watchdog, Sergey Dankvert, said that he does not exclude seeking "extreme measures" on flower import from the European Union, if the requests from the Russian side are not followed. "We just want to get things done, and if that is not possible, then we will go to "extreme measures," Dankvert said. "We are not some villains, whose goal is to harm someone," he added. "I think that at this stage we will check the flower imports from the EU countries, and then, it will all go back to the way it was," Dankvert said.

He went on to say that Russia is currently holding consultations with Latvia and Lithuania on the supply of flowers from the Netherlands. "The negotiations are now underway with Latvia and Lithuania, since most of the flowers are coming through them," Dankvert said. According to him, the colleagues from the two countries have "sent a letter that they are going through all the cars [with flowers] and looking them over, so that we don't shut them down." For now, the negotiations are taking place in the form of conference calls.

"If there will be further findings of bad products, we will then have to meet [in person]," he concluded.

On August 10, TASS reported that all shipments of Dutch flowers imported into the Russian Federation starting on August 10, will be subject to mandatory checks, rather than the previous random checks.

"Each batch of Dutch flowers that enters Russia will be inspected," said Dankvert's aide Alexei Alekseenko.

On August 4, Russia said that it would allow flowers from the Netherlands to be imported after August 10, based on the test results.

"The decision on the possibility of entry of Dutch origin cut flowers unto the territory of the Russian Federation after August 10, 2015, will be accepted only after the results of laboratory examination of their phytosanitary condition,"Rosselkhoznadzor said in a report.

On July 27, Russia banned the import of cut flowers from the Netherlands, due to the presence of quarantine organisms on the products, said Rosselkhoznadzor then. "Rosselkhoznadzor suggested that the National Organization for Plant Protection of the European Union suspend all phytosanitary certification of Dutch cut flowers for delivery to Russia," the release said.

Alekseenko also said that the full-time restrictions on the supply of flowers from the Netherlands are a temporary measure. The ban will either be dismissed or extended after technical consultations with "competent authorities in European Union on the problem at hand," that the Russian authorities intend to carry out in the near future, the surveillance service said. While the ban applies only to the flowers produced in the Netherlands, it does not affect the flower transit, Alekseenko said.

"Only during the last three months, during the quarantine phytosanitary control of cut flowers that arrived in Russia from the European Union, we found 324 batches contaminated with western flower thrips, white rust chrysanthemum, tobacco whitefly and US miner clover. Out of those batches, in 183 cases, the cut flowers came from the Netherlands, and that accounted for 58% of the total number of identified contaminated batches of cut flowers received from all countries of the European Union," Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement.

Earlier TASS quoted the deputy head of the Rosselkhoznadzor Yulia Shvabauskene, who said that the service is considering a ban on re-export of plant products, including flowers, to Russia, through the Netherlands. According to the public official, the issue at hand was on European Union re-export certificates, which are needed for all flowers from Holland and those that are delivered through Holland, like those from Ecuador, to Russia.

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