News / Europe

    EU Air Freight Rules Draw Moscow's Ire

    FILE - European Union Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas addresses news conference on air cargo security, Brussels.
    FILE - European Union Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas addresses news conference on air cargo security, Brussels.
    Reuters

    New European Union air cargo rules that have ignited a row with Russia and jeopardized annual trade worth more than 13 billion euros ($18 billion) came into force on Tuesday, and is likely to heighten tensions between the EU and Moscow.

    The EU is gradually tightening its security rules for air shipments. Russia argues its airlines and airports need no extra checks since they have met safety standards set by a United Nations aviation body.

    Moscow has threatened to retaliate by imposing additional security requirements on cargo shipments from the EU. That could ground air trade between the two markets.

    Air carriers flying cargo into the EU from Russia are now rushing to secure extensions from European authorities and say they are caught in the middle of a political dispute. Several Russian airlines said they were continuing cargo shipments to Europe as normal on Tuesday.

    Relations between the EU and Russia have soured dramatically over the Ukraine crisis and Moscow's annexation of Crimea. The tension has also worsened a trade dispute over pork exports to Russia from the 28-member bloc.

    According to the cargo rules, from July 1 airlines shipping cargo into the EU must have their security procedures verified by an EU-accredited expert at each airport they use outside the EU, unless they receive an extension of up to six months from EU officials or their country is exempt from the rules.

    The main sticking point between Brussels and Moscow is a so-called "green list" of countries which do not need extra checks because their security standards are considered exacting enough. Russia has so far not made the list.

    Green list

    Russia has been pressing for inclusion on the green list of around 10 countries, including the United States and Japan. The EU has yet to make a decision.

    Moscow says it observes security standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) — a UN agency — and that should be enough to guarantee its inclusion.

    "We don't see the necessity to reconfirm once again adherence to implementation of the measures," Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's ambassador to the EU, told Reuters by email, referring to the ICAO standards. "Russia does not intend to undertake additional inspections."

    A spokesman for Russia's Transport Ministry said Russian officials had sent a letter to the European Commission suggesting another round of talks but were yet to receive a reply. The European Commission, however, said it had no knowledge of the letter.

    Last week, an EU transport official said the EU was "ready to work with partner countries to smooth the implementation of the program ... and in some cases to accept small changes to the rules." It was not immediately clear what form these changes could take.

    Caught in the middle

    Airlines complain they have been placed in an unfair position and can do little to influence the high-level dispute between Russian and EU officials.

    "Carriers should not be caught in the middle of political and technical disagreements," said Geert Scion, a spokesman for the Association of European Airlines, a lobby group.

    Volga-Dnepr, a major Russian cargo airline group, said its subsidiary Atran had already received a deferral of the additional EU security checks. It was still preparing the necessary documents for its other subsidiaries.

    "Halting air cargo transit to Europe and back to Russia, which forms a significant part of Volga-Dnepr's business, could cause serious damage not only to the company but also to a whole series of sectors of the Russian economy," it said.

    Aeroflot, Russia's largest airline, declined a request for comment. A source at the airline, however, said cargo shipments were continuing as usual as of Tuesday.

    Transaero, another Russian carrier, said in a statement it had received clearance from Spanish experts to ship freight into the EU from four Russian airports for the next five years. It said the approval process took several years.

    Russia is the EU's eighth most important air freight partner. Annual traffic between the two has been growing 16 percent over the last five years, according to the EU executive. The EU imported 4.5 billion euros worth of Russian goods by air in 2013 and exported goods valued at 8.6 billion euros, data from the EU's statistics office show.

    The new rules were introduced in response to a foiled terrorist plot to ship bombs disguised as printer cartridges from Yemen to the United States via the EU in 2010.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora