MOSCOW, August 11 (RIA Novosti) - President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, warned the Kremlin on Monday of possible response to Russia’s embargo on food imports from Europe but promised to keep communication channels between Brussels and Moscow open.
Barroso made separate telephone calls to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko regarding the situation in Ukraine.
"President Barroso underlined the EU’s regret at Russia’s announcement of measures targeting food and agricultural imports, for which there was no justification, reserving the EU’s right to take action as appropriate," the European Commission said in a statement.
"In this context the President of the Commission and the President of Russia agreed on the need to keep the channels of communication open on matters of relevance, namely on the economic and energy fields, as well as on the overall bilateral relations," the statement said.
Last week, Russia introduced a one-year ban on agricultural and food imports from the countries that have imposed sanctions on Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis.
The blacklist includes meat, poultry, fish, seafood, milk, dairy products, fruits and vegetables from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway.
Following the move, European Commission spokesman Frederic Vincent said that the European Union was disappointed about Russia’s response measures and called the ban “clearly politically motivated.” Vincent also stressed that the European Commission reserved the right to take appropriate actions.
A panel of experts is currently looking at what is involved in the Russian restrictions and their potential consequences. The EU is expected to evaluate the impact of the ban by Thursday this week, when senior agricultural experts from the 28-member bloc will gather for an emergency meeting.
According to the EU estimates, about ten percent of the bloc’s agricultural exports go to Russia annually. Last year, EU food exports to the country totaled 11.8 billion euros ($15.8 billion).