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Interfax: Poland abusing EU membership by vetoing talks on new EU-Russia agreement - Russian MP

Interfax: Poland abusing EU membership by vetoing talks on new EU-Russia agreement - Russian MP

29.05.2007 17:20

PERM. May 29 (Interfax) - Poland is abusing its EU membership by vetoing talks on a new partnership and cooperation agreement between Russia and the European Union, Russian State Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachyov said Tuesday.

"This is a new phenomenon in the EU where one state abuses its membership to promote its own interests and solve its problems," he told journalists in Perm. "If this continues, we will simply destroy our partnership."

In late 2006, Poland lodged a veto to the European Commission's negotiating mandate for a new partnership and cooperation agreement with Moscow in retaliation to what it says is an unjust Russian ban on Polish meat and other food exports in place since November 2005.

Kosachyov said that, in theory, Russia could have pursued the same policy, by refusing, for instance, to sign an agreement with the EU, unless all Russian-speaking residents in Estonia and Latvia are offered citizenship.

"But we have a responsible approach toward our partnership and understand that by taking such a position we will block the process and will hardly achieve any solution, as in modern international relations to speak the language of ultimatums is bad taste," the parliamentarian said, adding that he hoped "the EU will deal with this Polish problem."

The Russian MP also said he believes Poland's veto is an internal EU problem.

"The Polish issue has an immediate effect on the negotiating process and the lack of a decision at the two last summits is a direct consequence of Poland's position," Kosachyov said. "But I would not consider this problem as one between Russia and the EU. I am deeply convinced this is an EU internal problem. Now Russia has come across it, but there are many other examples where Poland's particular position causes headaches for Poland's EU partners."

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