In an effort to safeguard their markets, Hungary, in cooperation with neighboring countries Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria, has signaled its intent to impose a national ban on Ukrainian grain imports should the European Union (EU) fail to extend the existing ban set to expire on September 15, as announced by Hungary's Farm Minister.
The decision to impose such a ban follows concerns raised by these nations about market stability and competition in the wake of Ukraine's dependence on alternative EU export routes, known as Solidarity Lanes, due to the termination of a year-old grain deal with Russia.
While the ban has received support from Slovakia's government, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov has expressed the desire to waive the ban on Ukrainian imports. Denkov highlighted the potential benefits of resuming imports from Ukraine, such as lowering prices for essential food items, reducing inflation, benefiting low-income individuals, and increasing budget revenues from imports and exports.
In response to these developments, Poland and Hungary have also indicated their intention to apply unilateral restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports, citing increased competition and potential bottlenecks in their respective markets.
Romania's farm ministry has stated that its decision regarding the ban will align with the EU's stance on the matter.
The EU had previously imposed "temporary preventive measures" in May, temporarily prohibiting certain sales into Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovakia while allowing transit to non-EU markets, primarily in Africa. These measures are scheduled to expire on Friday.
Istvan Nagy, Hungary's agriculture minister, emphasized that the proposed national ban would encompass a broader range of Ukrainian products compared to the existing measures, should the EU decide not to extend the moratorium.
The affected nations remain attentive to the evolving situation and are prepared to take appropriate actions to protect their markets and interests.
For further updates and information, please stay tuned to the relevant authorities and government agencies of each country involved in these discussions.