The European Commission (EC) announced on September 15 that it was ending the temporary restrictions on imports from Ukraine of four agricultural products, including grain, to five EU countries, among them Bulgaria.
A day earlier, Bulgaria’s Parliament voted against an extension of the import ban, which had been set to expire on September 15.
The European Commission has analysed the data related to the impact of the exports of four categories of agricultural products on the EU market, the EC said.
“It has concluded that thanks to the work of the Coordination Platform and to the temporary measures introduced on May 2 2023, the market distortions in the five member states bordering Ukraine have disappeared.”
The EC said that a constructive attitude of all participants in the platform helped to solve concrete problems and ensured that exports to third countries outside the EU are flowing and even increasing.
As a result, it has been agreed that the existing measures would expire on September 15, the EC said.
The EC said that Ukraine had agreed to introduce any legal measures (including, for example, an export licensing system) within 30 days to avoid grain surges.
Until then, Ukraine is to put in place from September 16 effective measures to control the export of four groups of goods in order to prevent any market distortions in the neighbouring member states.
Ukraine will submit an Action Plan to the platform no later than close-of-business on September 18 2023.
The EC and Ukraine will monitor the situation via the platform to be able to react to any unforeseen situations, the statement said.
The EC will refrain from imposing any restrictions as long as the effective measures by Ukraine are in place and fully working.
The temporary distortions in the markets of the five member states that share a border with Ukraine, leading on May 2 2023 to the imposition of temporary restrictive measures on a series of Ukrainian foodstuff exports.
In parallel, a coordination Platform was set up, bringing together Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the European Commission. It contributed to develop infrastructure and increasing logistical capacity, as well as removing administrative barriers to the export of agricultural products from Ukraine.
A report on September 15 by Deutsche Welle said that Poland, however, said it would continue to enforce the restriction, in the interest of its farmers.
In Bulgaria, the end of the restrictions has been hailed by sunflower oil producers, who have had problems with supplies to enable the continuation of production.
However, in Bulgaria, the end of the restrictions has been met with threats of widespread protests by grain industry players, though reports have shown that these players have close links to Roumen Radev, a continuous critic of the pro-Western government formed in Bulgaria in June, and who has consistently opposed Bulgarian support for Ukraine to defend itself against Putin’s Russia’s February 2022 illegal invasion, with the Putin regime standing accused internationally of a vast number of war crimes.
Bulgaria’s reformist Prime Minister, Nikolai Denkov, has sought dialogue with the grain farmers, while Bulgaria’s Finance Minister earlier announced stepped-up financial compensation for them.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a message on X (twitter.com) on September 15, said that all previous European Commission restrictions on Ukraine’s agricultural exports have now been lifted.
“I thanked (EC President) Ursula von der Leyen for keeping her word and upholding the rules of the single market,” Zelenskyy said.
“This is an example of Ukraine and the EU working together in true unity and trust. When rules are followed and agreements are kept, Europe always wins,” he said.
“It is critical that European solidarity now work on a bilateral level. For our neighbours to support Ukraine during times of war. Should their decisions violate EU legislation, Ukraine will respond in a civilized manner,” Zelenskyy said.
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