Five Countries to Ask EU to Extend Ukrainian Grain Import Ban

Wednesday, 19 July 2023

Five Central European EU members – Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia – plan to jointly request the European Union to extend the ban on importing Ukrainian grain after September 15.

"We are going to Warsaw to solidify the cooperation of the five countries and sign a declaration or agreement in which we will ask the EU to extend the ban beyond September 15," Reuters quotes István Nagy Hungary's Minister of Agriculture.

According to the agency, the Central European countries are concerned that the collapse of a deal allowing Black Sea exports this week could lead to increased grains flows and bottlenecks in the five countries, the Central European states fear.

Heading for the meeting in Warsaw, Minister of Agriculture Istvan Nagy said the five countries would ask for this import ban to remain on four Ukrainian products – wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds – for now, with transit shipments continuing.

However, he mentioned that Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia would also discuss an option where countries could individually ask the EU to add products to the ban list.

"Obviously, Ukraine, given its sheer size, anything it produces and exports to Europe, that upsets the market. The situation is the same with chicken meat, eggs, honey," Nagy said.

"For the time being, the four products will remain, we are striving to preserve the ban on these four products, and probably there will be an agreement that countries, individually, can ask the EU to impose a ban on additional products...this is what we will talk about," the minister concluded.

Meanwhile, Poland's Minister of Agriculture, Robert Telus, stated that Warsaw was willing to improve transit through Poland but that the EU needed to help with infrastructure.

As per Minister Nagy, land-based transport of grains was expensive, and he suggested the EU should offer a progressive transit fee subsidy to Ukraine or the shipping companies to allow grains to be shipped to alternative ports, to avoid a burden on European markets.

On July 17, Russia announced the suspension of the "grain deal." Previously, Ukraine reached out to Türkiye and the UN with a proposal to continue the operation of the "grain corridor" within the framework of the Black Sea Grain Initiative without Russia, which withdrew from the agreements on Monday. The Kremlin threatened "risks" to those parties considering continuing the "grain deal" without Russia's participation.

On June 5, the European Commission extended the ban on Ukrainian agro-imports until September 15.

If you notice an error, select the required text and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editors.