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Agriculture min: Countries bordering Ukraine reject September 15 deadline to lift grain import ban

Ukraine's neighbours find unacceptable the September 15 deadline to lift a ban on grain imports from that country, as defined by the European Union, the Hungarian agriculture minister said in Warsaw on Wednesday.
20. July 2023 5:30

Following talks with his counterparts from Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia, Istvan Nagy told a press conference that participants in the conference had signed an agreement aimed at further cooperation “over Ukrainian grain”.

According to Nagy, unless the EU postpones the deadline for lifting the ban until at least December 31, the Hungarian government “will use every facility to protect Hungarian farmers”.

The five countries will work to develop “joint European solidarity” to ensure that products from Ukraine reach third countries “where needy residents are very much looking forward to receiving those goods”, Nagy said. He insisted that the joint action was “not targeted against Ukraine or its farmers” but aimed “to protect our own producers”.

Nagy said it was important to eliminate disruptions in shipping via “solidarity corridors”, adding that “the grain must not remain stuck in countries bordering Ukraine as a result of the high transportation cost on land”.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who also attended the talks, said Poland would not open up its borders for Ukrainian grain imports on September 15, but would continue facilitating only the transit of those products through the country. “Either the European Commission elaborates rules to extend the ban or we will do it, either unilaterally or in cooperation with other countries … we will protect Polish farmers,” he said.

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