Bulgaria to temporarily ban food imports from Ukraine, except for those in transit
Bulgaria "stands in solidarity with Ukraine, but the bankruptcy of Bulgarian farmers does nothing to help it" (Photo:MichaelGaida / Pixabay)
Bulgaria has become the fourth European country to ban food imports from Ukraine, following Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary, Bulgaria’s caretaker Prime Minister, Galeb Donev, said on April 19.
The Bulgarian ban does not apply to goods in transit.
The EU has slammed the bans, saying they contravene both EU and international law, said EU spokesperson for trade issues, Miriam Garcia Ferrer.
“Unilateral bans of individual countries won’t solve anything,” Czechia’s Agriculture Minister Zdeněk Nekula said in an April 17 press release.
He noted that EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski has said the bans “are unacceptable,” reported Politico on April 17.
Despite the pressure from Brussels and the likely illegality of the move, Bulgaria’s Donev decided to join with its Eastern neighbors in banning Ukrainian agricultural products.
“Over the past year, a significant amount of [Ukrainian] food has remained in the country and disrupted food chains,” Bulgarian BNP Radio quoted Donev as saying.
He noted that the consequences for Bulgarian farming may be crucial, if the trend continues or increases.
“We are forced to adopt this national measure because the European authorities are still considering an adequate measure. We expect Brussels will hear and understand the positions of Bulgaria, Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia. Bulgaria still stands in solidarity with Ukraine, but the bankruptcies of Bulgarian farmers do not help this cause,” he said.
The Polish government banned on April 15 the import of Ukrainian grain and a large range of other products into the country. Polish farmers had protested for many months the inflow of grain from Ukraine transiting through the country to third parties. They claimed that a large part of grain stays in the country instead of transiting through, flooding the Polish market and causing prices to decrease.
Hungary and Slovakia joined Poland in halting imports of grains and oil seeds, dairy products, and meat from Ukraine.
Ukraine and Poland agreed on April 18 to renew grain transit through Poland, the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine said.
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