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EU concerned over Moscow’s food embargo in response to anti-Russian sanctions

August 19, 2015, 18:42 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

MOSCOW, August 19. /TASS/. The blow against the EU’s agrarian sector as a result of Moscow’s counter-measures to the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States causes European politicians’ concern in the wake of growing protest sentiments, experts polled by TASS said on Wednesday.

The EU is convening an emergency meeting of agriculture ministers on September 7 to discuss the consequences of Russia’s food embargo. In particular, Germany’s exports to Russia have fallen by 50%, which amounts to 600-700 million euros a year. The French government is drafting an urgent plan of support for the agricultural sector. European storehouses have accumulated 100,000 tons of unsold pork.

"The political elites in each of the EU countries have an understanding of the counter-productive nature of anti-Russian sanctions," Head of the Department for European Political Studies at the Institute of World Economy and World Politics of the Russian Academy of Sciences Nadezhda Arbatova told TASS.

"The countries that have suffered most from the Russian embargo on agricultural supplies and traditionally maintain good relations with Moscow are Italy, Greece, Hungary and some countries outside the EU, first of all, in the Balkans, which have raised the issue of the lift of sanctions. However, the EU’s decisions are based on a consensus and directly link the cancellation of sanctions with the implementation of the Minsk accords for the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine," the expert said.

"Another thing is why Brussels is exerting pressure on Moscow and not on Kiev for the cessation of a civil war in Ukraine. The EU and the US interpret the Minsk accords differently. Brussels is interested in the quickest termination of the Ukraine conflict, which is taking place on the threshold of the European home. The US is demonstrating its tightness towards Moscow owing to its remoteness from the seat of the fire and under the influence of the presidential campaign. Besides, the Russian embargo affects the US to a lesser extent than the EU countries," she added.

The expert said she didn’t think that the EU as a "vassal" of the United States in the anti-Russian policy was being led by Washington.

"The US originated from Europe. They both have their common Anglo-Saxon mentality. The West will continue linking the softening or the cancellation of the anti-Russian sanctions with the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements, even if it is aware of the disadvantageous nature of these sanctions," Arbatova said.

Sergei Oznobishev, professor of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and section head at the Institute of World Economy and World Politics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with TASS that "electors’ discontent in democratic states is an important factor in policy formulation."

"This will not happen overnight but farmers’ protests will gradually bring politicians protecting the national interests of their countries into power," he added.

"The countries, with which Russia is bound with special relations, such as Italy, Greece, Finland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and even the EU’s informal leader, Germany, are not interested in the continuation of anti-Russian sanctions, which are inflicting damage on their economies. But their readiness to revise their policies should not be overestimated. This will be a long process because no end to the Ukraine crisis can be seen and it will long stay in its smoldering phase," the expert said.

TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors