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Learning English - Words in the News
04 June, 2004 - Published 13:32 GMT
Russia refuses EU meat
Meat trade ban

The European Union provides Russia with 78% of its beef imports and half of all its pork imports, in a meat trade worth over €1.3 billion. Since March, Russia has been demanding changes to meat safety certificates. Now unexpectedly, Russia has actually stopped the import of meat from the EU. This report from the BBC’s John Moylan:

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The ban on meat imports only came to light over the past few days. The Commission claims it still does not have official details of exactly what products are affected and from which member states. But Russia's agriculture ministry has confirmed that it has halted EU meat imports. At issue is a demand that all imports are accompanied by uniform certificates authorised by the Commission and not the individual member states.

The ban on meat imports will hit eleven EU countries, including France, Germany, Poland and Ireland. Russia has recently signed a series of agreements with the EU which have extended political and trading ties. The Commission has now launched a high-level diplomatic offensive to reverse the ban. The Commission president, Romano Prodi, is expected to speak with the Russian Prime Minister today.

Listen to the words

came to light
became known

member states
the countries that have joined an organisation are called member states


at issue
the subject at issue is the main subject of disagreement

accompanied by
joined by

uniform certificates follow one standard pattern

badly affect


if you launch a large, important campaign, you start it


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