European Parliament seeks to restrict Ukraine's grain exports to EU countries


The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to restrict Ukraine's duty-free grain exports, which have been allowed since the start of the Russian invasion and have drawn criticism from the bloc's Orthodox farmers.

The European Commission is preparing to renew the duty-free treatment of Ukrainian products from June, while proposing a range of safeguard measures that could be applied in case of extreme necessity, such as limiting imports of poultrymeat, pigmeat and sugar to the average level of the year 2022-2023.

But a majority of MEPs voted in favour of extending the restrictions, known as the emergency brake, to cereals, amid claims by EU agriculture players that their cheap imports are unfairly depressing prices in the bloc.

Foremost of the protests against the duty-free imports have come from Poland, where, as in parts of the rest of the EU, outraged farmers are staging major protests.

Now the EP's proposed amendment is subject to negotiation with EU Member States.

A joint statement by šešešešešešešešešešešeš European farmer organisations welcome the vote as it takes into account the broader concerns of various Member States, which are feeling the impact of šešeš trade liberalisation.

Farmers argue that Ukrainian products that used to go to Africa or the Middle East are now staying in Europe, to the detriment of local producers.

In addition, they say, Ukrainian producers are not subject to the EU's stricter environmental and social standards.