حفلة 2024

EU mulls curbs on grain imports from Ukraine

The European Commission is looking into measures to enable eastern EU member states to limit agricultural imports from Ukraine, as free trade measures, adopted with the country since the start of the conflict with Russia, sparked a wave of protests by government officials, farmers, and truck drivers in neighbouring countries like Poland and Hungary, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

According to EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, the Commission is set to submit a proposal for the extended period ending in June 2025 that will take into consideration the special needs of the Eastern European Union’s agricultural sector.

While safeguards are part of the current arrangement, they are only effective when the EU market as a whole is impacted.

“We’re looking at the best ways to do it, including the possibility of having the safeguards not only in the case of disturbances to the EU market as a whole but also in case of disturbances in a single member state or a few member states,” Dombrovskis told reporters before a meeting of EU ministers on trade.

The head of EU trade stated that the Commission was exploring ways to protect the most delicate products. Moreover, he had discussed the matter with the agriculture ministers of Poland and Hungary in the past 24 hours.

According to an EU diplomat, the plan would give impacted EU members four months to act swiftly before a three-week assessment by the Commission was required. Closer adherence to EU standards would also be encouraged for Ukraine.

Earlier, Peter Szijjarto, Hungarian Foreign Minister stated that the influx of cheap Ukrainian grain had “ruined” central European markets.

“We have banned the import of Ukrainian grain and some agricultural products… We would like to maintain that measure… We would like to come back to the original agreement which was to secure transit for Ukrainian grain,” he said.

 

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