Budapest: Hungary’s Agriculture Minister Istvan Nagy called on the European Union (EU)to introduce progressive subsidies for the transportation of Ukrainian grain in the bloc to protect farmers in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).
Nagy said that the introduction of such subsidies would ensure that the grain reaches its traditional markets instead of getting stranded and distorting markets in neighbouring countries, reports Xinhua news agency.
“In the spirit of European solidarity, we are advocating the introduction of progressive EU transit support so that Ukrainian grain can reach its former, traditional markets,” he said.
Nagy made this call after talks with Mykola Solskyi, Ukraine’s minister for agrarian policy and food, during which he also discussed Hungary’s temporary ban on the import of 25 product categories from Ukraine, including grain, rapeseed, sunflower seeds, cooking oil and some meat products until June 30.
However, Nagy clarified that transit shipments would not be blocked.
He said that the measures were introduced to protect Hungarian farmers and consumers and that they were temporary.
Earlier on Thursday, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Gergely Gulyas, also spoke about the issue, saying that Ukrainian grain exports should be facilitated to ease food shortages in Africa, but added that imports could “ruin the Hungarian agricultural market instead”.
Gulyas pointed out that exports of corn from Ukraine increased by 7,000 per cent and those of grain by 1,000 per cent between 2021 and 2022, leading to disruptions in agricultural distribution channels, especially in countries bordering Ukraine.
Nagy also said that he held consultations with representatives from the European Commission about the import ban on Ukrainian agricultural products.
The Commission has proposed placing wheat, corn, sunflower seeds and rapeseed under the trade liberalization preferential clause of the Union to ease the situation, according to him.