June 24, 2024

Five European countries to extend ban on Ukrainian grain but allow it to go elsewhere

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Five European Union countries will extend their ban on Ukrainian grain to protect the interests of their farmers, their agriculture ministers said Wednesday, but food can move through their land to parts of the world that are still in need. Russia pulled out of an agreement that allowed shipments in the Black Sea.

The ministers of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania signed a joint declaration in Warsaw ahead of the EU’s discussion on the matter planned next week in Brussels. The declaration said they support continuing to allow Ukrainian grain to move through their countries by road, rail and river to destinations where they are needed but will maintain the ban on imports to their countries through 2023.

“This coalition is not against anyone, not against Ukraine or the EU, it is in the interest of our farmers,” said Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus after meeting with his colleagues and deciding to push through the ban deadline 15 September.

Apart from Bulgaria, all the countries share a border with Ukraine, which was dealt a major blow on Monday when Russia pulled out of a deal reached with the United Nations and Turkey. allow food shipments through the Black Sea to countries where millions are going hungry. Ukraine is a major exporter of wheat, barley, vegetable oil and corn.

The five ministers of agriculture and the Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, who met with them, said that the grain of Ukraine was previously stuck in their countries, which led to a glut that drove down prices for their farmers, and they don’t want to see that again. Now, the grain moves through the countries to other markets in sealed and protected transport.

They encouraged the EU working out mechanisms that will get Ukrainian grain and other food to their destination without harming the agricultural industry in transit countries.

“Today the EU should build the right legal and infrastructure tools to regulate Ukraine’s grain transport in the long term,” said Telus.

“We want to help Ukraine in transit,” he said.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyensaid on Tuesday that she was “deeply concerned about Russia’s move to end the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” stressing that it “risks bringing food insecurity to so many vulnerable countries on around the globe.”

“The European Union will, by all means, continue to work to ensure food security for vulnerable people,” said von der Leyen.

More than 45 million metric tons of grain, oilseeds and other products have been exported through Europe, she said.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was created to try to end a global food crisis caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine, allowed 32.9 million metric tons to reach the world, according to the UN.

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