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Agriculture Minister: Brussels ‘deliberately putting Hungarian farmers at disadvantage’

Brussels is once again applying double standards, pursuing a discriminatory policy and "deliberately putting Hungarian farmers at a disadvantage", Istvan Nagy, the minister of agriculture, said in Brussels on Monday.

The solidarity lanes proposed by the European Union to help ship grain stuck in Ukraine to Africa and the Middle East failed to function as intended, Nagy told a press conference after a meeting of EU agriculture ministers. Member states bordering Ukraine were “flooded with Ukrainian grain”, triggering major market disturbances, he said.

Hungary, Poland, Romania, Czechia, Slovakia and Bulgaria turned to the European Commission for emergency support, but only Poland, Romania and Bulgaria will receive the more than 53 million euros worth of financial assistance, the minister said.

Nagy said the EC’s decision was “gravely discriminatory” and based on a professional error.

He said that contrary to the EC’s view that the grain coming from Ukraine was not driving down prices in neighbouring countries, grain prices in Hungary had fallen to around 217 euros per tonne compared with their price of 300 euros on the Rotterdam exchange.

The minister said he has asked the commission to review its conclusion on the impact of Ukrainian grain imports.

“We have proven through statistical data and figures that Hungarian farmers are indeed incurring huge losses because of the grain going through the solidarity lane staying in Hungary instead of reaching its intended destination,” Nagy said. “The commission made a political decision rather than a professional one.”

The Hungarian government is doing everything in its power to get the commission to change its position, Nagy said, adding that Hungarian farmers could only rely on their government.

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