27 Mar 2024 16:07

Hungary sees Ukrainian agricultural produce as threat to EU farmers

MOSCOW. March 27 (Interfax) - The European Union's agrarian policy, laden with the Green Deal ideology, is dangerous not only for farmers, but also for consumers, because Ukrainian agricultural goods, which are produced in conditions beyond the EU's control, are arriving at the EU market in unlimited quantities and without any customs duties, Hungarian Agriculture Minister Istvan Nagy said after a meeting of EU agriculture ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.

"Ukrainian farm produce has squeezed European farmers' products [from the EU market]," Ukrainian media quoted Nagy as saying in a statement published on the Hungarian Agriculture Ministry's website.

European farmers cannot compete with low-priced grain products from Ukraine, he said.

Nagy also cited information from Ukrainian government officials, who said that the Black Sea ports have been reopened and Ukraine has exported over 17 million tonnes of grain via them since the beginning of this marketing year.

"If the sea route is free, this will protect the markets of the European Union. The EU may impose restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural products in a way that will not harm Ukraine and even help return such products to their traditional markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa," Hungary's Agriculture Ministry said.

When commenting on Ukrainian agricultural imports to the EU, Nagy said that Hungary insists on addressing the issue of trade in grain and oilseeds in line with the EU Autonomous Trade Measures for Ukraine, because these products pose the main problem.

Hungary will vote against amendments to this agreement until grain and oilseeds are added to it, Nagy said.

"If the issue of trade in these products is not resolved, the Hungarian government will continue to stick to its current decision on national restrictions and will not allow Ukrainian farm produce into the country's territory, because we owe a great deal to the Hungarian farmer community," he said.

Nagy also described as "a major achievement" Tuesday's adoption of amendments intended to simplify the EU's Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), ease the administrative burden on farmers and improve the conditions of production.

If the event of non-observance of the CAP rules, farmers operating on fewer than ten hectares will be exempt from oversight and any sanctions, he said. Farmers who have already planned fallow will receive compensation. Instead of a crop rotation, it will be enough to diversify crops. The measures will stay valid until the end of this CAP cycle, i.e. until 2027.

The Hungarian government has done everything it could to implement the proposals that simplify the principles of European agriculture and make this business feasible. Hungary has submitted more than 45 proposals to simplify agriculture practices, the ministry said.