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  Sunday, September 15, 2019
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Vladimir Putin had a routine meeting Monday with the Transportation Minister, Igor Levitin.
Their talk focused on the implications of EU expansion on the Russian railways system. The EU wants Russia to bring its railroads into line with European standards. The Transportation Ministry needs to carefully consider the EU requirements so that a common approach could be worked out, Mr. Levitin said. Specifically, the EU requirements concern sanitary inspection of freight traffic along the Kaliningrad line. At their session in Spain earlier this month, the EU transportation ministers agreed to include Russian officials in a high-level group that will be reviewing transport corridors across Europe, Mr. Levitin told the President. The necessity for such a review arises from the expansion of the EU transportation network following the accession of ten new member states in Central and Eastern Europe, he explained. The EU transportation ministers realize the growing importance of Russian railroads and motorways, and call for their upgrading to meet European standards, Igor Levitin said. Recently, several trucks from Portugal were sent to Vladivostok, in Russia's Far East, in an attempt to prove that there is a motor link between the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts, he reported. Mr. Levitin also told Putin that the transportation ministers of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) [Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan] decided to monitor freight traffic from their countries along third countries' corridors. Some problems remain unsolved in the area of export and import tariffs, and the EurAsEC ministers developed an action plan to address them, he said. In late May, the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) held a session in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, Mr. Levitin recalled. There, it was suggested that Russia should take over the organization's rotating presidency in 2005 and play host to its next, 89th session
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