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European Commission proposes support for farmers affected by Ukrainian grain transports

Armed Forces of Ukraine soldiers assault an OPFOR controlled mock village during training at Rapid Trident 2021. (Staff Sgt. David Carnahan/U.S. Army)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The European Commission has proposed measures for wheat, maize, sunflower seed, and rape seed from Ukraine after a joint complaint from five EU countries — Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia — over a drop in prices on local markets because of the influx from Ukraine.

The five countries became transit routes for Ukrainian grains that could not be exported by sea because of Russia’s invasion, but delays in moving the grains have caused a glut of cheap imports, prompting complaints from farmers and bans on the grains by some countries.

The situation forced the European Union to seek a solution, and on April 19 European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis discussed the measures with ministers from the five countries as well as with their Ukrainian counterpart, the European Commission said in a news release.

An EU official quoted by Reuters said the proposal would only allow the grains to enter the five countries from Ukraine if they were to be exported to other EU members or to the rest of the world. The measure would last only until the end of June.

Romanian Agriculture Minister Petre Daea ​told Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskiy that ​Romania will implement additional security measures for goods transiting Romania’s territory to third countries.

The European Commission has proposed that the commodities be either sealed or monitored by the Global Positioning System (GPS) to ensure that they are not opened during transit and therefore should not affect the markets in the states they pass through.

The commission’s proposal, which also includes a second tranche of agricultural financial support, is subject to the countries lifting unilateral measures, the commission said.

Separately, the European Commission plans an investigation into whether measures are required for other sensitive agricultural products.

Bulgaria announced earlier on April 19 that it will temporarily ban the import of grain, milk, meat, and other food products from Ukraine, following steps taken by Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia.

The ban, announced by Agriculture Minister Yavor Gechev and Economy Minister Nikola Stoyanov at a news conference in Sofia, will come into effect on April 24 and will last until June 30.

The ban will affect nearly 20 types of Ukrainian produce, including wheat, wheat flour, sunflower seeds, honey, raw and dry milk, eggs, poultry, pork, mutton, lamb and goat meat, wine, and ethylic alcohol among others.

The transit of goods from Ukraine intended for third countries through the territory of Bulgaria is still permitted, the two ministers announced.

Hungary also made an announcement on April 19 on Ukrainian agricultural products, saying it is widening its ban to include honey, wine, bread, sugar, and a range of meat and vegetable products.

The list of items to be banned was announced in a government decree after Budapest previously announced a ban on imports of grain, oilseeds, and several other products in step with Poland and Slovakia.