The Hungarian farmers association MAGOSZ and the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture, with the support of several professional associations, have addressed an open letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, reports Magyar Nemzet.
In the letter, the Hungarian farmers demand that “the suspension of the import ban on Ukrainian grain be reviewed immediately and the restriction be reinstated, taking into account technical criteria.” They draw attention to the fact that in addition to misguided EU sanctions, the energy crisis, and increased input costs, the lifting of the import ban is now causing major difficulties for farmers.
The ill-considered measures, they say, have led to Ukrainian grain devastating markets in Central and Eastern Europe, causing enormous market uncertainty and a drastic drop in producer prices.
Hungarian farmers have suffered losses of at least EUR 300 million on winter wheat alone, and the outlook for other cereals is no better. According to them, it is unacceptable that the import ban was not extended despite the requests made by Hungary and several other affected countries, and was decided over their heads with completely inaccurate justification. The European Commission has thus betrayed the farmers who guarantee the food security of EU citizens.
As they point out in their letter, lifting the import ban will not help the war-torn Ukrainian population, but will only serve the interests of international big business. In fact,
9 out of the 10 largest Ukrainian agricultural production companies are not registered in Ukraine, but are owned by U.S. and Western European capital funds,
they explain. Moreover, extremely strict environmental and animal welfare requirements would be imposed on farmers in the EU, while imports into the EU are not bound by these regulations.
In their letter, the association and the Chamber of Agriculture made the following demands to the president of the European Commission:
- Decisions should be made on a professional basis, instead of supporting international big business, and reintroduce the ban on imports of Ukrainian grain and extend it to other agri-food products
- an effective long-term solution should be made to help Ukrainian products reach their traditional markets
- steps should be taken to stabilize the market and compensate Hungarian farmers for their losses, as the compensation of EUR 15.9 million will not provide any real help
- respect the environmental and phytosanitary standards for EU production of Ukrainian produce.
“At the same time, we support the Hungarian government’s decision to extend the import ban on other Ukrainian products, including honey, certain meats, and eggs, under its national competence, as imports from Ukraine have caused serious problems not only in the cereals sector but also in other product sectors,” they wrote.
“We demand that the European Commission represents the clear interests of the Member States, Eastern European farmers, including Hungarian farmers, and EU citizens, and that it reconsiders its decision and changes its position in the light of these interests,” the farmers concluded.
Via Magyar Nemzet, Featured image: Facebook/MAGOSZ