Members of the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions condemn the implementation of unilateral trade restrictions by Russia against Lithuania, an EU Member State currently holding the EU Presidency. The decision of the Russian authorities to block imports of all Lithuanian-originated foodstuffs comes only weeks ahead of the EU Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, where Moldova and Ukraine, two former Soviet Republics, are expected to sign association agreements with the EU.
Arnoldas Ambarmavičius (EPP), EPP/CoR Group Vice-President and head of Lithuanian delegation to the CoR explains: "This politically and pseudo-technically motivated embargo without justification causes immense losses to Lithuanian local businesses as well as impedeeding cross-border communication along Lithuanian-Russian borders. It challenges the Lithuanian municipalities as well". The Mayor of Zarasai District Municipality calls for more unity within the EU: "Russia must receive a clear and firm message from the EU; that it cannot unilaterally block the European integration processes and should rather look for other ways to benefit from European integration".
Michael Schneider, President of the EPP Group in the CoR agrees - "These are not only restrictions on Lithuania, but also on the Presidency of the EU and the European Union as a whole. Russia has to end its clearly politically-motivated measures to disrupt the Lithuanian economy and finally start treating all the EU partners as Members of the single market. The European Commission must act now and call on the WTO to stop Russian discriminatory acts against Lithuania".
Marek Wozniak, EPP/CoR Group Vice-President expresses understanding for the Lithuanian calls for unity – "We had similar experiences of Russian authorities restricting trade from our meat exporters in Poland a few years back. In response to such political decisions attempting to put divisions between EU Member States, we should offer our Lithuanian colleagues support in a spirit of solidarity".
Next week, the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions will host a seminar on European Energy Security "Towards a future with secure and affordable energy for all" in Kaunas, Lithuania. EPP Members will have the chance to investigate problems further and possibly add a new dimension to the topic related to European Solidarity.
Arnoldas Abramavicius and Marek Wozniak are both members of Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) within the Committee of the Regions. CORLEAP holds regular thematic meetings and facilitating the exchange of project proposals, best practices and know-how, and intends to become the hub for direct cooperation between regions and cities from the EU and the Eastern partner countries.
For more information contact EPP/CoR Group Press Officers:
Dominik Krakowiak - tel: +32 2 282 2539 / +32 472 84 26 75
Katie Owens - tel: +32 2 282 2400 / +32 494 39 27 98