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Russia played politics by banning wine

Since September Molodovan wines and spirits have been banned from Russia, when the Russian consumer-protection agency decreed that Moldovan wine was dangerous because it had been found to contain traces of plastic. At the time Moldova's agriculture minister pointed out that Russia permits a higher amount of the same elements in its own water supply, and the European Union a higher amount still.

Some say the real reason and timings behind the ban were political with the ban being re-imposed to put pressure on Moldova in the months leading up to the EU Summit in Lithuania held on 28-29 November. Around 30% of Moldova’s wine exports, or 32m litres, go to Russia each year. The good news for Moldova is that they initialled agreements with the EU on political reform and free trade which will put the country on the path to integrating with the Union. In the meantime it will ensure that Moldovan wines — and many other of their exports — are more competitive in European markets. The agreements are expected to be signed next year.

Russia did not want Moldova to sign these agreements, instead, it wanted Moldova to become part of its customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, as well as an eventual Eurasian economic union, dominated by Moscow. In the run-up to the EU summit Russia made threatening noises about cutting off Moldova's gas supply, and subjected Moldovans working in Russia to extra checks on their legal status.