EU restrictions on Ukraine grain imports extended to September 15
The European Commission says the measures are necessary due to the "exceptional circumstances of serious logistical bottlenecks.
The European Union will prolong restrictions on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products imposed by five member states aiming to safeguard local farmers until September 15, the European Commission announced on Monday.
Ukraine was compelled to export more of its commodities by land through EU countries as a result of the war with Russia.
The EU waived import charges on Ukrainian agricultural products in May 2022. However, a wave of Ukrainian grain imports into eastern European nations pushed up prices and raised concerns about market saturation, prompting Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia to prohibit them unilaterally in April.
Later that month, Brussels secured agreements, which expired on Monday, with the five member states, enabling them to prohibit the commercialization of four items as long as their passage to other nations is not impeded.
According to a statement by the commission, the bloc will "phase out by September 15," the constraints affecting Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seed that were imposed due to "logistical bottlenecks" in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.
It added that the measures are necessary due to the "exceptional circumstances of serious logistical bottlenecks and limited grain storage capacity ahead of the harvest season" in the five nations.
The "exceptional and temporary measures fully respect the EU's strong commitment to support Ukraine and preserve its capabilities to export its grains which are critical to feed the world and keep food prices down," the commission detailed.
According to the statement, the revised timeline will also attempt to solve the issues Ukraine confronts in exporting this year's harvest.
To facilitate the flow of commerce and transit of agricultural goods through corridors, the commission, the five member states, and Ukraine have established a joint coordination platform.
Ukraine had urged the EU not to prolong the restrictions through June 5. Mykola Solskyi, Ukraine's Agriculture Minister, compared them to providing Russian President Vladimir Putin "extra weapons" against European unity. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the measures "protectionist and cruel."
France and Germany also expressed their dissatisfaction with what they called "differential treatment" within the bloc.