EU veterinary services should have better control over the quality of meat products, rather than submitting complaints on their trading partners, according to the heads of the Russian veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor.
The dispute has arisen following Russia’s ban on meat imports from Germany, introduced recently. In an official complaint registered with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the EU said the step was "unreasonable and disproportionate", describing the measures introduced as "unfounded on technical and legal reasons".
In turn, representatives from Rosselkhoznadzor hit back at the EU’s veterinary services, with Rosselkhoznadzor spokesman Alexei Alekseenko noting that the reasons for the restrictions were obvious. "Firstly, non-compliance with Russian veterinary requirements was identified following inspections at a number of German companies. Secondly, it turns out that the German veterinary service guarantees the safety of goods for export and grants documents for them without actually checking all the goods. The veterinary system in Germany, as well as in whole of the EU, is divided and cannot effectively control the movement of raw materials," said Alekseenko.
Sergey Dankvert, head of Rosselhoznadzor, added: "It would be better for the European Commission not to file complaints, but to look at the solution to these problems and establish a traceability system for [meat] production, that makes it possible to control the quality of raw material being used for the production of finished products."
According to Alekseenko, Rosselkhoznadzor will take a close look at the complaint filed by the EU with the WTO and will then consult with lawyers to prepare an appropriate answer.
"Actually, this is the first complaint filed against Russia with the WTO. How much time the process will take is still unknown. But, the experience of other countries shows it can last a long time. For example, a complaint to the EU by the USA has lasted 15 years," he added.