Commissioner Šemeta urges Russian government to tackle problems at the border
Today, 24 February 2011, Commissioner Šemeta has participated in the meeting of the European Commission with the Russian Government. In his meeting with the Minister of Industry and Trade Viktor Khristenko, Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina and Minister of Agriculture Yelena Skrynnik, Commissioner has raised a number of customs and anti-fraud questions. Comissioner noted, that on the top of his agenda are 2 problems, which are needlessly costing both the EU and Russia far too much money today, namely, border congestion and fraud.
According to the Commissioner, for businesses today logistics matters as much as production costs and business taxation. He finds the long queues at the EU-Russia border as unacceptable, damaging both EU and Russian businesses, as well as undermining competitiveness.
Commissioner has urged to look into fast lanes or quicker procedures for approved operators as well as Early Warning Mechanism in case of unavoidable circumstances. "On EU side, we are ready to formally agree on such a Mechanism. I now expect the Russian authorities to proceed quickly on their side so that we can implement such measures to the benefit of businesses," – Commissioner has commented after the meeting.
Commissioner welcomed the creation of Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union, and stressed the importance of receiving timely information on the practical steps taken for its implementation and of avoiding uncertainty and difficulties for economic operators.
Commissioner Šemeta has indicated that the flow of counterfeit and contraband tobacco and alcohol between Russia and the EU is a serious concern. In some parts of the EU, smuggled cigarettes account for more than half the cigarettes smoked. In some regions, this figure even goes up to 90%.
"When fighting against smugglers and criminal organisations, the most effective solutions are found by joining forces," Commissioner Šemeta said.