* Agriculture Commissioner returning to Brussels
* Russian ban on EU pork has had minor impact
(Adds Commission comment)
PARIS/BRUSSELS Aug 7 European agriculture
officials will on Monday set up a task force to analyse the
impact of a Russian ban on EU food imports and expect to call an
emergency meeting to coordinate an EU response, the European
Moscow banned most food imports from the West on Thursday in
retaliation for U.S. and EU sanctions imposed over Russia's
actions in Ukraine. The Commission said it reserved the right to
take action, without specifying what.
The Commission takes a summer break in August, but
Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos will return to Brussels
at the weekend and on Monday his department will set up a task
force to work out the impact of Russia's ban, the Commission,
the EU executive, said.
The commissioner has already been in contact with the
Italian and French agriculture ministers and others.
Roughly 10 percent of EU agricultural exports go to Russia,
worth around 11 billion euros, per year, according to Commission
"The loss of one market does not mean that we cannot export
our healthy, quality products elsewhere in the world,"
Commission spokesman Roger Waite said.
As evidence, he cited Russia's ban of EU pork earlier this
year, saying it had only a small impact as lost Russian sales
were offset by the impact of a pig disease in North America and
sales in Asia.
In June, the Commission said it was taking Russia to the
World Trade Organisation to try to overturn Russia's ban on EU
Leading EU agricultural nation France said an emergency
meeting of an expert committee representing member states would
be called next week.
In a statement, French agriculture minister Stephane Le Foll
said contact had been made with the governments of Germany and
Poland about reaching a co-ordinated position between the three
Waite said the timing of an emergency meeting was not yet
clear and the Commission was seeking to coordinate with all 28
(Reporting by Andrew Callus in Paris and Barbara Lewis in
Brussels; editing by Michel Rose and David Evans)