Illustration - Photo: Flickr

Agriculture Minister: EU decision-makers ‘steered by big capital’

The leaders of the European Union are not protecting the EU's interests, Istvan Nagy, the agriculture minister, told public radio on Sunday. "We are witnessing multinational big capital's move to acquire new markets," he said.
18. September 2023 6:02

Commenting on the Hungarian government’s decision to maintain and expand the ban on Ukrainian grain produce on its own authority, Nagy said in the interview that the European Union was protecting “so-called Ukrainian farmers” who were “in fact US, Saudi and Dutch companies and investors”.

Hungary proposed that the EU set up a transit fee fund to support land transport of Ukrainian grain produce so that it may be transported to Arfica and the Arab Peninsula from Croatian and Nordic free ports, he noted.

The EU ban expired on Sept 15, and the EC decided against prolonging it, saying that the measures taken since May had eliminated market distortions in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, the beneficiaries of the ban.

Contrary to those statements, the European markets still suffer from a glut, he said. Meanwhile, the decision to lift the ban emerged after talks between EC President Ursula von der Leyen and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, rather than consultations with the ministers of the countries in question, he said.

Hungary’s decision to expand the ban to rapeseed, sunflower seed, flour, cooking oil, honey, eggs and certain meats was a “very brave and tough decision” since such decisions are not normally within the power of member states, he said. Slovakia and Poland joined the decision and Romania is also expected to, while Bulgaria demurred, he added.

Meanwhile, Janos Csak, the culture and innovation minister, also gave an interview to public radio on Sunday, and said families raising children today would be key to “ensure pensions for future generations”.

“Certain countries are seeing the birth rate fall, while in others, especially in Africa, the population is growing rapidly, presenting a challenge to every country,” he said.

Hungary’s government has been working to turn demographic trends to prevent a “population exchange”, a possible development of those trends, he said.

The government has introduced several measures in support of housing families from home purchase subsidies to interest subsidies. It intends to continue this support while taking market trends into account, he said. It is also working to ensure mothers “are given a real opportunity to decide between work or staying at home” thanks to a programme to build creches and financial support, he said.

As a result of the measures, Hungary’s fertility rate was up at 1.59. After the pandemic, it suffered a setback and is now at 1.52. Hungary’s population would reproduce naturally with a rate of 2.1, he said.

Leave a Reply