The Polish government has appealed for help from the European Union over Russia’s blocking this month of Polish meat and plant product exports because of alleged “irregularities” in veterinary and phytosanitary certificates.

Poland has asked the EU Council of Ministers to act, claiming the ban breaks the 2004 EU/Russia Joint Statement on trade flows. The ban could be expensive, with Polish-Russian food trades worth US$500m annually. EU health and consumer affairs commissioner Markos Kyprianou said he would help resolve the problem, stressing technical contacts had helped similar EU-Russia trade disputes in the past. The European Commission would “use its influence…to have a quick response”, he said.