BRUSSELS — Five EU countries have struck a deal with the European Commission on shifting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of Ukrainian grain out of the area after nearly two weeks of intensive negotiations, EU commerce chief Valdis Dombrovskis stated Friday.
“I’m glad to announce that we’ve got reached a political settlement regarding Ukrainian agrifood imports within the EU. We’ve agreed with the 5 neighboring EU member states and Ukraine on how we’ll sort out the state of affairs,” Dombrovskis said.
Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria restricted imports of Ukrainian produce earlier this month following protests by farmers unable to promote their crops due to a provide glut.
As beforehand introduced, the European Commission will put ahead emergency safeguard measures for wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds, Dombrovskis stated, including that investigations into different merchandise may comply with.
He didn’t present extra particulars on what the emergency measures entail, however EU diplomats say that the imports of these merchandise into these 5 countries might be blocked except for transit into different EU or third countries.
The EU may also help the countries with some €100 million.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the deal, arguing that it “preserves each Ukraine’s exports capability so it continues feeding the world, and our farmers’ livelihoods.”
Poland earlier heralded the deal.
“We have just now finalized agreements with the European Union regarding the ban on the import of these agricultural products, which above all led to destabilization in the Polish market,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.
While Romania had not imposed its personal restrictions, it joined the opposite 4 countries in calling for the EU govt to widen its proposal for momentary “preventative measures“.
So a lot for solidarity
The 5 had argued that the so-called “solidarity lanes” — arrange by the EU to assist shift crops diverted from Ukraine’s conventional Black Sea export route by Russia’s invasion final 12 months — had flooded their markets with farm produce.
But the import crackdown sparked outrage amongst different EU countries, who stated that this each undermined the bloc’s single market and broke solidarity with Kyiv, which Europe is backing in its combat towards Russian President Vladimir Putin’s conflict of aggression.
The information was unlikely to be welcomed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who had warned that import restrictions violate a commerce deal between the 2 companions earlier within the day.
“We mentioned the ban on the import of Ukrainian agricultural merchandise by a number of neighboring states,” he stated following a cellphone name with European Council President Charles Michel. “I expressed deep concern about such choices and emphasised that these steps are a gross violation of the Association Agreement and the founding treaties of the EU.”
In the same vein, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna urged the bloc to droop commerce protection measures.
“The flow of Ukrainian agro-export is a matter of survival for the Ukrainian economy, heavily impacted by the full-scale Russian war of aggression,” Stefanishyna stated. “So, our widespread precedence must be an extension of the suspension of import duties, quotas, and commerce protection measures on Ukrainian exports to the European Union.”
News of an settlement got here hours after EU ambassadors backed the proposed extension of Ukraine’s tariff-free entry to the bloc’s single market.
The present scheme runs out in early June and, topic to formal approval, could be prolonged by one other 12 months. The resolution had been postponed due to the continuing negotiations on clearing the supply glut of Ukrainian grain.
Brussels had suspended all import duties on Ukrainian items for one 12 months to assist Kyiv’s war-ravaged economic system final June, lifting all import duties on high of tariff reductions which might be already cemented within the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine. The remaining tariffs had been faraway from industrial merchandise, vegetables and fruit and different agricultural merchandise.
The tariff guidelines are nonetheless topic to formal approval by the European Parliament and EU countries at a later stage.