East European countries want more EU checks on Ukraine grain corridors

They would like to introduce a deposit system for exports
calendar icon 27 September 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Countries from the EU's eastern wing on Tuesday called on the European Commission to boost checks on solidarity lanes for Ukrainian grains and introduce a deposit system for exports, reported Reuters

Ukraine has been in dispute with neighbouring allies over restrictions on its grain, which it has been forced to send overland since Russia's invasion last year.

The EU created alternative land routes, so-called Solidarity Lanes, for Ukraine to use to export its grains and oilseeds, but its neighbours have argued that cheap Ukrainian agricultural goods meant to be in transit get sold locally, harming their own farmers.

Hungary, Poland and Slovakia imposed national restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports this month after the European Commission decided not to extend a ban on imports into those countries and fellow bloc members Bulgaria and Romania.

"We prefer finding a common Union-wide solution," Czech Agriculture Minister Marek Vyborny said on Tuesday after hosting a meeting with counterparts from Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

"We together are calling on the European Commission to take an active approach to controls on the effectiveness of the corridors of solidarity."

Russia backed out of a UN-brokered Black Sea grain deal in July this year that had allowed safe passage for the cargo ships, putting more stress on shipments.

Vyborny said the four countries also agreed that the Commission should also consider a deposit scheme for exports.

The deposit would be required from traders exporting from Ukraine and would be returned when it was determined that the grain had left Europe for its final destinations.

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