Romanian farmers are expecting an extension of restrictions on grain imports from Ukraine
Heated talks were triggered in the latest European Parliament session by the issue of Ukrainian grain exports. The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, the Polish Janusz Wojciechowski, stated that, in his opinion, the European Commission should extend the temporary ban on Ukrainian grain imports in five EU neighboring states, given that the measure contributed to increasing exports outside the bloc
The Romanian MEP Dacian Cioloş asked the members of the Commission to wake up to reality and appoint a special coordinator of the Union for the export of Ukrainian grains, to ensure that the shipments only transit the neighboring countries and are not sold there. The Union was not able to come up with a common decision, and Russia's strategy of using food as a weapon to increase its political influence in the world is intolerable, he pointed out. The most vocal were, however, the Polish MEPs, who demanded serious measures to protect farmers in their country.
Ukraine has become completely dependent on alternative EU routes for its grain exports after Russia pulled out in July from a one-year deal that allowed Ukrainian grain to be transported safely through the Black Sea ports, now attacked by Moscow. As a result, farmers in neighboring states - Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia - have been faced with increased competition and serious blockages in their own markets. Thus, there is pressure to extend the ban, which would expire on Friday. The European executive announced, in May, "temporary preventive measures" that would ban grain sales in these five states, while allowing transit through their territory to markets outside the EU, mainly Africa.
The Commission has allocated €156 million in compensation to affected EU farmers and raised almost €1.9 billion to improve alternative routes. Over 60% of Ukrainian grain transiting the EU passes through Romania, where farmers' associations have threatened protests if the ban is lifted. The Romanian Minister of Agriculture, Florin Barbu, suggested to the Commission to establish a system of subsidies for the transit of Ukrainian agricultural products outside the bloc. In his opinion, the restrictive measures had a positive effect on the grain market in Romania. The war in Ukraine forced local farmers to export grain at any price. However, their costs are much lower because they are exempt from customs duties, thus leading to unfair competition. (MI)