Bulgaria’s Parliament asked to vote against extension of ban on foodstuffs imports from Ukraine

Bulgaria’s Parliament is being asked to vote on a decision to oppose the extension beyond September 15 on the EU ban on the import of various foodstuffs from Ukraine into Bulgaria and three other EU countries.

The draft decision has been tabled by We Continue the Change co-leader Kiril Petkov, Alexander Ivanov and Roumen Hristov of GERB-UDF, WCC-Democratic Bulgaria MP Atanas Atanassov and Delyan Peevski of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms.

Imposed months ago, the ban covers imports of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds from Ukraine into Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. It was put in place after farmers in these countries complained about competition from cheaper imports, a result of the European Union lifting tariffs on imports from Ukraine in response to Russia’s war on that country. The ban allows the transit of these foodstuffs through the four countries, but forbids their sale on the countries’ domestic markets.

The draft decision, approved by Parliament’s economic policy committee on September 12, calls for the ban not to be extended beyond September 15 and entrusts the Bulgarian government with the task of expressing this position.

The text says that the decision takes into account “Bulgaria’s solidarity with Ukraine and considering that the supply of agricultural products must be ensured in order to guarantee food security on a global scale, without putting Bulgarian farmers at risk”.

Recent media reports have said that sunflower oil producers in Bulgaria have complained that they are at risk of having to shut down because of a shortfall of raw materials because the ban on imports from Ukraine.

In a statement on September 12, the National Association of Grain Producers opposed the proposal to lift the ban on grain imports from Ukraine, saying that “lifting the ban is the fastest and surest way to destroy Bulgarian agriculture”.

Of the other countries covered by the ban, Romania and Hungary are calling on the European Commission to extend the ban at least until the end of 2023.

(Photo: Andreas Krappweis)

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