Restrictions on the import of Ukrainian agricultural products imposed by five member states in an effort to defend local farmers will be extended by the European Union until September 15, the commission announced on Monday.
major producer of grains Following the invasion that started in February of last year, Russia blockaded Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, forcing Ukraine to export more of its produce by land through EU neighbors.
In May 2022, the EU abolished import taxes on agricultural items from its war-torn neighbor as a show of support.
However, the influx of Ukrainian grain imports into eastern European nations drove up prices and stoked worries about market saturation, leading Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia to unilaterally restrict them in April.
Later that month, Brussels and five member states came to an agreement that is set to expire on Monday, allowing the states to obstruct the commercialization of four products as long as their transit to other nations is not impeded.
The bloc will “phase out by 15 September” the restrictions affecting Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed that were adopted due to “logistical bottlenecks” in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, the commission said in a statement.
“These measures continue to be necessary for a limited period of time given the exceptional circumstances of serious logistical bottlenecks and limited grain storage capacity ahead of the harvest season” in the five countries, it added.
The “exceptional and temporary measures fully respect the EU’s strong commitment to support Ukraine and preserve its capabilities to export its grains which are critical to feed the world and keep food prices down”, the commission said.
The revised schedule will also attempt to solve difficulties Ukraine will encounter when exporting this year’s crop, it was stated.
To enhance trade flow and the passage of agricultural products through corridors, the commission, the five member states, and Ukraine have established a joint coordination platform.
Kiev had urged the bloc to withdraw the sanctions on June 5 at the latest. Mykola Solskyi, the minister of agriculture for Ukraine, compared them to providing Russian President Vladimir Putin “extra weapons” to undermine the unity of Europe.
The actions have been dubbed “protectionist” and “cruel” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Other EU nations have also voiced their opposition to what they called “differential treatment” within the bloc’s internal market, including economic giants France and Germany.