The exceptional measure banning the import of grain from Ukraine to neighboring Member States should be maintained, Agriculture Minister István Nagy said during a meeting with Romanian Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Florin-Ionuţ Barbu in Bucharest on Tuesday.
István Nagy remarked that “these are extraordinary times and we need to find common solutions to the challenges.
The exceptional circumstances justifying the EU import ban remain, and we intend to maintain the import restrictions on Ukrainian grain.”
He stressed that “like Romania, we will allow transit shipments, we do not want to harm Ukraine, but we want to preserve the competitiveness of our farmers.” According to Nagy, Hungarian buy-in prices are lower than those on the stock exchange, causing significant difficulties for producers. Buyers are waiting, which has frozen the market. Hungary must continue to work to ensure that Ukrainian grain reaches the ports as quickly as possible and finds its traditional markets in North Africa or the Middle East.
FactRomanian farmers’ organizations demand an extension of the ban on Ukrainian grain imports and threaten a blockade. Farmers are reportedly planning to blockade the port of Constanta and border crossings if their demands are not met. In an open letter to the country’s leaders, they point out that Romania, along with Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Slovakia, has made extraordinary concessions to support war-stricken Ukrainian farmers and preserve world food security, but 95 percent of agricultural products exported from Ukraine remain in the European Union, causing severe market disruption.
Nagy also held talks on Tuesday with his Bulgarian and Slovakian counterparts on the extension of the ban on Ukrainian grain imports. In a meeting with Bulgarian Agriculture and Food Minister Kiril Vatev on Tuesday, the Hungarian Minister stressed that
if Brussels does not act, Hungary will extend the ban on Ukrainian grain imports after September 15 under national competence.
The Slovak and Hungarian agriculture ministers also agree on the need to extend the ban on Ukrainian grain imports until the end of the year. Nagy held talks with Slovak Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Jozef Bíreš in Bratislava, where he said that the original aim of the solidarity corridors, which is to facilitate the export of Ukrainian agricultural products to countries in need, should not be lost sight of.
Nagy pointed out that Slovakia is facing similar challenges to Hungary, with warehouses full and the harvest of sunflowers and maize just starting, while the cereals market is at a standstill. The minister added that high transport costs were seen as one of the main problems.
Therefore, we continue to propose the introduction of a progressive transport system, financed by EU funds, which should take into account the length of the route needed to transfer the products to their destination markets.
An extension of the ban on cereal imports, together with transit aid, would help to address these difficulties,” the Agriculture Minister underlined.
Meanwhile, Poland is not standing still either. In a decision adopted on Tuesday, the Polish government called on the European Commission to extend the ban on imports of Ukrainian cereals, expiring on September 15. The government also calls for the commission to take immediate action to “develop solutions to ensure the stable and effective functioning of local producers in Poland and other EU Member States.”
If the European Commission does not extend the import ban, Poland will stop Ukrainian grain imports under its national jurisdiction,
according to the resolution.
Via MTI, Featured photo via Pixabay