20 Apr 2023 13:56

Talks on unblocking Ukrainian agricultural exports to EU continuing, European Commission proposes action plan

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) - Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and the European Commission are continuing negotiations to unblock Ukrainian agricultural exports to the European Union, and the European Union has offered a financial assistance package to the five neighbors of Ukraine in exchange for lifting export restrictions, the Ukrainian media said with the reference to the Ukrainian government website.

The countries will get the package proposed by the European Commission if they lift the unilateral restrictions, European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said after a meeting with representatives of Ukraine and five EU members that have restricted Ukrainian agricultural imports.

In his words, the European Commission understands the importance of a swift implementation of the joint EU policy rather than unilateral decisions that may lead to new bans and thereby endanger the domestic European market.

The European Commission has taken the opinion of the parties into consideration, and an agreement has been reached to continue political consultations in the coming days for the soonest resolution of the problem, Dombrovskis said.

The Ukrainian media said with the reference to Radio Free Europe that the European Commission had proposed a plan to solve the problems of farmers in Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia affected by grain imports from Ukraine.

According to the document studied by the media outlet, the European Commission asks the five countries to allow grain transit without selling grain in their territories.

The decision currently discussed in Brussels narrows the range of products, which will be the subject matter of the agreement, to four crops: wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seed, while banning their imports until June 30, 2023.

The source said that the European authorities would propose that the cargo either be sealed off or GPS tracked in order to make sure that products do not get unpacked during transit and do not affect local markets in transit countries.

The plan can be put into effect within 24 hours, once the European institutions receive Ukraine's consent.

The European Union wants the emergency measure, taken at the European level, to cancel the grain transit ban by east European countries.

European rules do not allow member states to make independent decisions of the kind, as they are part of the common commercial policy. Still, EU institutions may cushion exclusive situations of the kind by emergency decisions.

Exclusive powers of the European Union are defined with the consent of member states and delegated to the EU leadership in Brussels. The latter coordinates actions at the European level and prevents either country from having individual rules and thus creating problems to other countries. Certain issues, such as marine flora and fauna regulations, go beyond borders, which requires their centralized resolution, the European Commission said.

The European Union is the exclusive regulator of such areas as the customs union, the monetary policy for euro-zone countries, trade and international agreements, and rules of competition on the common market.