EU voices optimism on Ukraine grain transit deal

Poultry and milk not included in the transit deal
calendar icon 26 April 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

The European Union's agriculture chief expressed optimism on Tuesday that countries neighbouring Ukraine will shortly accept a deal to allow Ukrainian grain to enter their countries for export elsewhere, reported Reuters.

The European Commission last week proposed emergency measures for wheat, maize, rapeseed, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil after some central European countries took unilateral steps to ban imports of food products from Ukraine.

Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia became transit routes for Ukrainian grain that could not be exported through the country's Black Sea ports because of Russia's invasion in February 2022.

European Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said the transit deal would only cover the five products representing 80-90% of imports and not another eight, including honey, poultry or milk, that Ukraine's neighbours have also proposed.

"I think that we are very, very close to having good agreement," he told a news conference after a meeting of agriculture ministers in Luxembourg, adding other EU countries also appeared to support the plan.

The Commission is negotiating with the five countries. Wojciechowski said the EU executive was presenting data to show the precise impact of agricultural imports.

Wojciechowski, who is Polish, said his own discussions with Poland's agriculture minister on Tuesday showed their positions were very close.

"Poland is the lead country of these five and it's very close indeed to coming up with a solution," he said.

Under the proposal, the five countries would need to ensure Ukrainian grain can transit their countries and their farmers would be in line for 100 million euros ($109.7 million) of EU funds as compensation.

($1 = 0.9114 euros)

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