| 2 December 2023, Saturday |

Hungary calls for new Ukrainian products to be included in import ban

European Union restrictions on Ukrainian food imports should not only apply to grains but also to eggs, poultry and honey, Hungary’s agriculture minister said late on Wednesday after talks in Brussels.

The European Commission said on Wednesday it would take emergency “preventive measures” for wheat, maize, sunflower seeds and rapeseed after a joint complaint from Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia at the end of March.

This followed Poland and Hungary last weekend banning some imports from Ukraine. Other eastern European countries said they were considering similar action.

“We also have to apply restrictions on eggs, poultry and honey coming into the EU from Ukraine,” Istvan Nagy said in a Facebook post.

Nagy also told state news agency MTI that Hungary will continue to allow transit of Ukrainian grain, ensuring the departure of such shipments “in a controlled manner”.

Nagy was also cited by MTI late on Wednesday as saying that talks were already underway about further products that could fall under a current import ban.

“It was worthwhile for Hungary to take firm action and protect the interests of Hungarian farmers,” he said, referring to the ban, adding the measures forced Brussels to take action.

An EU official said this would only allow the grains to enter the five countries from Ukraine if they were set for export to other EU members or to the rest of the world. This measure would last until the end of June.

Poland’s Agriculture Minister Robert Telus said on Wednesday that talks with Brussels would continue at the beginning of next week

The countries became transit routes for Ukrainian grain that could not be exported through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports because of Russia’s invasion.

Bottlenecks then trapped millions of tons of grains in countries bordering Ukraine, forcing local farmers to compete with an influx of cheap Ukrainian imports.

  • Reuters