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Foreign Ministry announcement on the Russian Federation embargo on imports of fresh agricultural products from the EU

Saturday, 09 August 2014

The Foreign Ministry issued the following announcement regarding the Russian Federation’s embargo on the importation of fresh agricultural products originating from the EU:

“In close ongoing cooperation with the Ministries of Rural Development and Development, and in direct consultation with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Ministry is taking all necessary actions:

•    First, to ensure, following meetings that took place before the announcement of the embargo, that the impact of the Russian embargo (the content of which is not yet clear) is a small as possible for fresh Greek agricultural products.

•    Second, to ensure the functioning of direct mechanisms that, through the distribution of products on the domestic market or to other export destinations, will make up for any losses suffered by Greek producers.

•    Third, in case of losses despite the abovementioned measures, to ensure that compensation is paid. Greek producers will have the full support of the state.

The Russian market is a very important destination for Greek agricultural produce, but the relevant turnover in absolute numbers is limited and not insuperable on the national and, a fortiori, the community level.

As a member state of the European Union, our country participates in the shaping and implementation of the collective European decisions, bearing in mind many parameters, with the only criterion being the comprehensive and long-term defence of Greece’s economic and international political interests. Consequently, the country’s international position and strategic national interests – from the Cyprus issue to the country’s definitive exit from the economic crisis – are not aided by fragmentary, edgy, incendiary reactions, without a frame of reference and without the ability to respond to a single simple question regarding the repercussions and the next step.

Greek-Russian economic relations, particularly in the sectors of tourism and energy – as well as trade transactions in general – are developing in a very satisfactory manner.

Politically, the whole of the international community sees very well that Greece, as a member of the European Union and the Euroatlantic alliance, is always a credible European partner that, however, capitalizes on all its special regional identities (Balkan, Mediterranean, Black Sea) and all of its traditional relations, not just on a bilateral level, but also to ensure the positive development of collective European and Euroatlantic policy on all the major international fronts. Always within the framework of international law, and with the objective of peace and stability.

The EU and Euroatlantic partners also need to make the speedy realization that we cannot have countries that are candidates for accession to the EU – countries that are in fact members of the Alliance – participating a la carte in European policy and benefitting from the cost being paid by the member states.

Greece’s stance on all of these issues is formulated within the framework of the longstanding national strategy and is expressed in identical terms by the Prime Minister, in the European Council and in meetings with other heads of state or government; by the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, in the Foreign Affairs Council and in meetings with counterparts; and by all the Ministers in the corresponding configurations of the Council of the European Union, and so forth. This holds true regarding the crisis in Ukraine and all the other, unfortunately many, fronts of international politics, particularly in the wider region of the Middle East and North Africa.”

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