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BRUSSELS, October 24 (Itar-Tass) - On the eve of the European Union summit due in November Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has complained once again to the European Commission over Russia’s ban on the import of Lithuanian dairy products.
Lithuania, the country which currently chairs the European Council of Ministers, wants to raise the issue at the European leaders and governments’ meeting. However, its leverage in this respect is fairly limited. The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 stipulates that the speaker at the EU Council meetings is not the head of the presiding country, but the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.
“Lithuania is grateful to the European Commission for support and assistance in appealing to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over Russia’s ban,” Grybauskaite said.
Russia’s ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov told ITAR-TASS earlier that the WTO would hardly be able to help Vilnius with the dispute. Firstly, the conflict is not about trade, but about sanitary matters, and the WTO lacks competence to address the issues of food security. Secondly, even if the WTO continues its investigation attempts, the process will take much longer than a couple of months. During this period, it would be possible to solve the problem at the expert level “by developing an adequate quality auditing system”, Chizhov said.
Lithuanian dairy producers are currently losing up to 40 percent of their income every day in the wake of Russia’s ban. According to the Lithuanian mass media, these companies are considering greater supplies to the West European market.