Following sustained and discriminatory controls of Lithuanian trucks by Russian customs authorities, EPP Group Members of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee have called for a thorough investigation and adequate response by the European Commission and other Member States.
“We are very concerned about what appears to be arbitrary and clearly discriminatory controls of Lithuanian vehicles carrying EU goods. Russia must stop this practice immediately. Such discriminatory checks violate the commitments Russia undertook when joining the World Trade Organisation, and have a direct detrimental effect on European exporters”, the EPP Group’s Coordinator in the International Trade Committee, Daniel Caspary MEP, and Laima Andrikiene MEP said.
Mr Caspary and Ms Andrikiene announced that the EPP Group will table an Oral Question to the European Commission on what measures it intends to take to address the issue. “Despite having subscribed to globally-accepted WTO trade rules last year, Russia has since increased the use of trade as an instrument of aggressive foreign policy vis-à-vis its post-Soviet neighbours and EU Member States. The latest actions by Russia constitute elements of economic war, directed at its neighbours and the whole European Union. The European Commission and the Member States must step up pressure on Russia to end such unlawful and provocative actions”, the two MEPs said.
According to reports, Russian customs authorities are singling out Lithuanian trucks entering Russian territory and subjecting them to in-depth and time-consuming searches of the goods they are carrying, including forcing them to completely unload their cargo without a reasonable justification. Moreover, Russia has lately imposed new restrictions for Lithuanian road carriers, requiring them to hire expensive police services to escort the cargo from the border to internal customs offices in Moscow. Losses to Lithuanian road carriers in recent days have already been estimated to amount to €10 million.
According to Linava, the Lithuanian national association of road carriers, around 650 Lithuanian-registered transport companies with some 13,000 trucks carry goods to Russia.