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Agriculture Minister: Hungary requests extension of import ban jointly with frontline countries

Hungary has requested an extension of the Ukraine import ban in Brussels jointly with the agricultural ministers of other "frontline" countries until the end of the year, the Hungarian minister of agriculture said on Tuesday.

Istvan Nagy said on Facebook that it was important to improve the operation of “solidarity corridors” and to restore their original purpose.

The problem remains that the cost of land transport is very high, he added. As a solution, the European Union could provide progressive transport support taking into consideration transport distance, he said, adding that it would make sense to transport Ukrainian grain to European ports on land so as to ensure that the shipments reach the destinations where they are needed.

Nagy also said that it was important that Ukrainian agricultural products should return to their traditional export markets and reach the countries that need them. So it is necessary to ensure that the Ukrainian produce reaching European ports do indeed end up in developing third countries. If they stay in Europe, then the local produce in Europe cannot be sold and developing countries will acquire what they need from Russia, he said.

Speaking to Hungarian reporters after a meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels later in the day, Nagy said Hungary would protect the interests of Hungarian farmers “by any means necessary”, even if the EU did not extend the import ban beyond September 15.

The minister said there was no professional argument to justify lifting the ban.

Hungary must insist on the extension, he said, adding that Hungarian grain stores must not be allowed to be filled up with Ukrainian grain again.

The ban must be extended until after the harvest so that stores could be freed up for Hungarian grain, Nagy said.


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