Five EU Countries Urge Commission to Extend Ban on Imports of Ukrainian Grain - Budapest
© Sputnik / Alexandr KryazhevWheat
© Sputnik / Alexandr Kryazhev/
BUDAPEST (Sputnik) - Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Slovakia are urging the European Commission to extend the ban on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products beyond September 15, Hungarian Minister of Agriculture Istvan Nagy said on Saturday.
"As regards imports restrictions, Hungary shares the same position with Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, which is that the European Commission should extend a ban on imports of Ukrainian grain beyond September 15, because it is the only way to protect interests of European farmers," Nagy told Hungarian newspaper Vilaggazdasag.
Hungarian farmers have received 15.93 million euros ($17.9 million) in compensations from the EU, which is still not comparable with the damage, the minister stated. He added that Hungary's agricultural imports from Ukraine amounted to 40,000-50,000 tonnes per year before 2022, whereas in 2023 Ukraine has been shipping several hundred thousand tonnes to Hungary on a monthly basis,.
"In other bordering [with Ukraine] countries, the situation is similar. It has shaken up markets, nobody had a chance to prepare for this," Nagy also said.
In late March, the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia published a joint open letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, calling for measures to counteract the negative effects of the increased imports of Ukrainian agricultural products.
On April 15, Poland, together with Hungary, banned imports of Ukrainian agricultural products until June 30, citing the need to protect domestic farmers from the uncontrolled influx of cheap grain. Slovakia followed suit on April 17 and Bulgaria on April 19.
On May 2, the European Commission banned the sale of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seed in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia until June 5 in a bid to "alleviate logistical bottlenecks," but allowed their circulation in other European markets. The ban was later extended until September 15.