Russia's meat ban threat

Russia is threatening to impose an import ban on all European Union (EU) meat products from January 1.

Moscow has written to the European Commission warning of a potential embargo because of the admission that day of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU - Russia claims safety concerns over these country's meat products, which would henceforth have free circulation in the EU.

The European Commission has been stressing its recent announcements to restrict pigmeat exports from these new members over swine fever concerns and also to block all trade with 387 Romanian meat producers until it is satisfied these foodstuffs are safe.

The row comes as Poland is blocking progress towards a broad-based Russia-EU trade deal because of an existing Russian ban on its meat exports, leading European health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou (pictured) to call the ban "unjustified" and stress the EU's "strict food safety mechanisms", which he expects "third countries to respect."