Work under way to help Ukrainian grain exports says EU commissioner
The EU has been working to help Ukraine export its grain to those EU states and countries worldwide where it is in demand, the EU commissioner for agriculture told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
"We have allocated considerable funds and offered support to ensure that grain exports from Ukraine can reach where needed," Janusz Wojciechowski said.
Having repeated that the EU had been supporting its farmers, Wojciechowski said that the markets of countries neighbouring Ukraine had been stabilised thanks to the implementation of temporary measures.
"But they have not limited Ukrainian grain exports through solidarity corridors," he stated during a debate on the extension of the ban on Ukrainian grain imports.
On April 28, the EC reached an agreement with Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia on restrictions on imports of Ukrainian agri-food products, and on May 2 it announced the adoption of a temporary ban regarding imports of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds from Ukraine. Last month it prolonged the ban until September 15.
"We have enough evidence at our disposal to say that, thanks to goodwill and commitment, there are logistic abilities which will make it possible to export this year's grain crop from Ukraine," the commissioner said.
According to Wojciechowski, it is necessary to introduce measures which will make it possible to transport Ukrainian grain through the territory of the countries bordering Ukraine, and to avoid bottlenecks.
Wojciechowski also said that a coordinating group, consisting of representatives of the five frontline countries, namely Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Bulgaria, as well as the EC and Ukraine, will meet on Wednesday to discuss the problem.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Polish government sent a note to the EC informing it that Warsaw will prolong the ban on Ukrainian grain unilaterally after September 15 if no EU regulation is issued by that time. Poland already introduced its own ban on Ukrainian produce in the spring of this year amid farmer protests, a move that the EC branded as violating EU laws.