French PM plans “direct” approach over Russian pork ban

French prime minister, Manuel Valls, has promised to include pigmeat in his discussions with the Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, when they meet on Saturday.

“I will discuss the lifting of the health-based embargo on pigmeat with him,” said M. Valls, referring to the long running block on EU pigmeat exports to Russia, imposed for alleged health reasons.

The French leader’s pledge was delivered at the end of a largely critical speech which was mainly focused on the failure of the European Commission to help reduce Europe’s farming “crisis”.

“The Commission has done too little, too late,” said M. Valls (pictured above), adding that it should now “activate its powers” to the benefit of Europe’s farmers.

French complaints over EU farm policy, meanwhile, are already on the agenda for next Monday’s meeting of the Council of Farm Ministers, courtesy of “several proposals” tabled by French agriculture minister, Stéphane Le Foll.

His call for action includes the following specific pig sector points:

  • The lifting of the Russian embargo on pork, in place since January 2014 after cases of swine fever in Poland, which exacerbates the political embargo related to the Ukrainian conflict. Vigorous diplomatic action must be taken quickly by the Commission in this regard.
  • Discuss new market regulations, particularly for milk and pork, to limit production when the market is saturated.
  • Implement specific measures of market support, including the continuation of private storage.

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