European agriculture ministers turn to EC over Ukraine grain imports

The agriculture ministers of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia have outlined how Ukraine grain imports have impacted their countries' products.

István Nagy, Minister of Agriculture, said Central and Eastern European agriculture ministers have once again turned to the European Commission for support in managing the impact of market disturbances caused by the flood of grain imports from Ukraine.

In their letter to EC Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis and European Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, the agriculture ministers of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia gave an outline of the market losses their countries’ agricultural products suffered due to Ukrainian grain imports. Nagy said the flood of cheap Ukrainian grain was forcing central and eastern European farmers out of their traditional export markets. The minister said that in addition to high production costs, price and revenue risks and adverse weather conditions, the influx of Ukrainian grain caused extra concern for farmers in the region. Nagy said that because these five countries were key contributors to Europe’s food security given their grain exports, Brussels had a duty to take steps to protect their markets and give them the opportunity to exploit their export potential, he said. One way of doing this, he added, was to introduce tariffs on the “most sensitive agricultural products”. The minister said he and his counterparts were calling on the EC to prepare a report on how Ukraine’s agricultural production regulations comply with EU regulations.