EU farmers welcome favourable EU Parliamentary Committee decision on trade with Ukraine

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

EU farmers' organisations have welcomed a vote in the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee that called for more robust safeguards against food imports in the context of the European Commission's recent proposal to extend trade liberalisation measures with Ukraine.

As reported by Euractiv, at the end of January, the European Commission officially proposed to extend the suspension of import quotas and duties on Ukrainian exports to the EU for another year while including safeguards for agricultural products, as requested by several EU member states.

Although the EU proposal includes safeguards against excessive food imports, six central EU farmers' and food producers' associations view the measures as a threat to the stability of the EU food market.

The European Parliament's Agriculture Committee approved an opinion on Monday evening (26 February) that meets the demands of EU farmers.


The opinion has been addressed to the competent trade committee, which may or may not take the amendments into account.

Copa and Cogeca, EU poultry processors and traders, sugar producers, maize and beet growers, and the union of wholesalers of eggs poultry and game said in a joint press release that the Agriculture Committee's vote "proves that a compromise is possible on Ukraine", and the Trade Committee "must draw inspiration from this".

The conclusion, endorsed by MEPs, suggests that safeguard measures should cover all sectors, while the "emergency brake" designed to reintroduce duties on poultry, eggs and sugar should also cover cereals, honey and oilseeds.

While the European Commission proposed exceeding the average level of imports in 2022-23 as a trigger for the emergency brake, MEPs on agriculture proposed 2021-22, i.e. the pre-war level.

MEPs from the agriculture committee believe that the EU should use funds from the €50 billion fund for Ukraine to purchase and store food imported from Kyiv to stabilise market prices in the event of an excessive influx of food products.

Meanwhile, the Ukraine Agribusiness Club (UCAB) has addressed the members of the European Parliament's Trade Committee.

"Your vote can be decisive for the economic fate of Ukraine in this crucial year," a press release issued by UCAB on 27 February said.

"Any proposals to limit Ukrainian agricultural imports to the European market may spell disaster for the Ukrainian economy," the press release stated.

Meanwhile, MEPs have submitted 51 amendments to the regulation in the Trade Committee. Some of them overlap with the amendments of the Agricultural Committee, for example, regarding the period of 2021-22 and the extension of the "emergency brake" to grains, oilseeds and wheat.

The Council of the EU has provisionally approved the European Commission's proposal for trade liberalisation without changes.

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