Bulgaria lifts ban on import of several Ukrainian foodstuffs, to get compensation from EU

Bulgaria’s caretaker government agreed at a regular meeting on May 3 to lift its recently-imposed ban on the import of grain and other foodstuffs from Ukraine, a government media statement said.

“The removal of the national ban is the result of the principled pan-European solution to the problem,” the statement said.

At a meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council, held on April 25 2023, Bulgaria agreed to the package of market stabilisation measures proposed by the European Commission, which will be implemented when the national bans are lifted.

The measures include a second financial package to support farmers from the most affected countries, adding up to 100 million euro. On May 3, Bulgarian National Radio reported a European Commission source as saying that the allocation for Bulgaria would be 9.77 million euro.

Other measures include the activation of extraordinary protective measures under the currently effective EU Regulation on Autonomous Trade Measures for four products (wheat, rapeseed, sunflower seed and corn), the import of which is temporarily prohibited from Ukraine; regular monitoring by the EC of other goods and, in the event of a shock on the market, a procedure for the introduction of protective mechanisms; and measures to improve logistics and transit of goods from Ukraine.

“Bulgaria actively participates in the negotiations between the European Commission and the countries affected by the increased import of goods from Ukraine in recent days, in order to reach a balanced solution that reflects the interests of the member countries,” the government statement said.

Bulgarian news agency BTA reported caretaker Agriculture Minister Yavor Gechev as telling the National Assembly on May 3 that “whatever the compensation from the European Commission, it will not be enough”.

According to Gechev, the problem is that domestic production is too large, and Bulgaria will find it difficult to sell it.

If Bulgaria did not lift the ban, it would not be able to benefit from the relevant funds, Gechev said.

As The Sofia Globe reported earlier, the European Commission adopted on May 2 what it called “exceptional and temporary preventive measures” on imports of a limited number of products from Ukraine under the exceptional safeguard of the Autonomous Trade Measures Regulation.

“These measures are necessary given the exceptional circumstances of serious logistical bottlenecks experienced in five member states,” the EC said.

The measures concern four agricultural products – wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed – originating in Ukraine.

They aim to alleviate logistical bottlenecks concerning these products in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, the EC said.

The measures enter into force on May 2 and will last until June 5 2023.

(Photo: government.bg)

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