EU to take preventive steps against Ukrainian agricultural products
Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission (Photo:Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)
The European Union will take preventive steps against agricultural products from Ukraine and add EUR 100 million in financial aid to protesting farmers, the Interfax-Ukraine reported on April 19.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on the governments of five EU member states (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria) to develop a common European approach, as is required by the EU single market and customs union.
The five states have complained about Ukrainian agricultural products flooding their markets instead of transiting through the countries.
Von der Leyen also promised additional financial assistance to farmers and restrictive measures against Ukrainian products.
“The president presents three proposals to address the situation on these markets,” European Commission Director for Political Communication and Services, Dana Spinant, said at a briefing in Brussels on April 19, commenting on von der Leyen’s response to a letter from the prime ministers of five countries.
In addition to the already provided support package of EUR 56.3 million for the most affected farmers in these countries, the EU is preparing a second financial support package of EUR 100 million, Spinant said.
“Secondly, we’ll take preventive measures on the applicable trade rules with regards to grains, certain categories of grain. This concerns, in particular, wheat, corn, sunflower, and rapeseed. And thirdly, we’re launching an investigation into other sensitive products.”
She said that European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis would discuss these lines of actions and proposals with the ministers of the respective five member states, as well as with his counterparts from Ukraine, in the afternoon on April 19.
“From the very beginning, we are committed, on the one hand, to supporting Ukraine to export its products, including its agricultural products, because this is an important lifeline for Ukraine’s economy,” the EC representative said.
“We are committed to helping bring these agricultural products to world markets where these products are needed, in order also to address concerns regarding food security, and we are fully committed to supporting our farmers.”
Poland banned grain imports from Ukraine on April 15, caving to the demands of Polish farmers who had protested Ukrainian agriculture shipments for months.
They claim that a significant part of Ukrainian grain does not transit further, remaining in Poland to flood the market and depress the prices.
Later, Hungary and Slovakia also announced a temporary ban on the import of grain and oilseeds, along with other agricultural products from Ukraine. Bulgaria joined these countries on April 19, allowing only transit.
The EU has slammed the bans, saying they contravene both EU and international law, said EU spokesperson for trade issues, Miriam Garcia Ferrer.
The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine reported on April 18 that Ukraine and Poland had reached an agreement on resuming the transit of Ukrainian agricultural products.
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