Slovakia will not lift unilateral ban on imports of Ukrainian grain until the EC makes a systemic decision – Minister

Source:  Interfax

The unilateral ban on imports of Ukrainian grain will remain in force until the European Commission proposes a systemic solution to the problem of dominance of Ukrainian agricultural products in Europe, said Slovak Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Richard Takacs at a bilateral meeting with EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski, which took place during the meeting of the EU Council on Agriculture and Fisheries AGRIFISH in Brussels.

“Slovakia fully supports the transit of agricultural products from Ukraine to third countries through solidarity corridors. However, the reality is that a significant part of these goods remains on the EU common market and thus represents price competition for Slovak farmers exporting grain to the EU,” he said in a statement on the website of the Slovak Ministry of Agriculture.

According to the Slovak agriculture minister, Slovakia grows grain crops on about 500 thousand hectares of land, which is about a third of the total cultivated area of the Slovak Republic, so it is important for the country to maintain this level of production.

“The loss of these producers will lead to the collapse of the Slovak agricultural sector,” Takács explained, adding that Slovakia expects the European Commission to propose a systemic solution to the problem.

“Until such a solution is found at the EU level, the ban on imports of agricultural products from Ukraine to the Slovak market, adopted at the national level, will remain in force,” the minister said.

For his part, European Commissioner Wojciechowski assured Takacs that the European Commission is attentive to the problems of the Slovak agricultural sector, but does not consider the unilateral measures that Slovakia plans to implement to be ideal. However, the European Commission is ready to look for a constructive pan-European solution to the issue of imports of Ukrainian agricultural products.

Commenting on the recently published recommendation of the European Commission to start negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU, Takács said that Slovakia perceives Ukraine’s future accession to the EU as a fact.

“Ukraine has to fulfill the same conditions as other EU states or it will be treated in the same way as other third countries,” Takács said, and drew the European Commissioner’s attention to the future need to determine and redistribute support for the Common Agricultural Policy, taking into account the size of agrarian Ukraine.

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