Polish veto still hanging over EU-Russia summit

The Finnish presidency is stepping up efforts to get Poland to lift its veto against a new EU-Russia agreement. Meanwhile, Russia is trying to find a solution on a bilateral basis.

The EU is to negotiate a new framework agreement with Russia at a summit on 24 November 2006, but Poland is still threatening to block it. The new agreement is expected to cover the areas of energy, trade and human rights.

Following negotiations between the presidency and Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Finnish spokeswoman Sanna Kangasharju told the IHT that the situation was difficult. She said: “The summit is hanging in the balance. We are now waiting for a response from the Polish side. The ball is in their court.”

Poland wants Russia to lift its ban on Polish meat imports and argues that the year-old ban was imposed due to political reasons and demands a different approach to the EU’s energy co-operation with Russia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Interfax that Russia was also working on a solution to the stalemate. Lavrov said: “We will settle this issue on a bilateral basis. Our experts have informed their Polish counterparts about this.”

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