June 19, 2024

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A preliminary agreement has been reached to resume grain transit in Ukraine with 5 EU countries

A preliminary agreement has been reached to resume grain transit in Ukraine with 5 EU countries

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission said on Friday it had reached an agreement in principle to allow Ukrainian grain transit to resume through five European Union countries that had imposed restrictions.

Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia have expressed concerns that grain from Ukraine that was meant to be exported to other countries is ending up in their home markets, driving down prices for local farmers.

European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis tweeted that the EU executive had reached an “agreement in principle” with the five countries to “address the concerns of farmers in neighboring EU countries and Ukraine”.

He said the deal included “preventive measures” for four products: wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds. He did not give any other details.

Dombrovskis said the deal also includes a 100 million euro ($110.25 million) support package for local farmers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he spoke on Friday to Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, to raise his concerns about what he described as a devastating ban on exports of agricultural products.

“This gives the Kremlin dangerous hope, the hope that someone’s wrong decisions in our common European home can prevail over common interests,” he said in a video address.

The five countries have become transit routes for Ukrainian grain that cannot be exported through the country’s ports on the Black Sea due to the Russian invasion.

Then bottlenecks trapped millions of tonnes of grain in countries bordering Ukraine, forcing local farmers to compete with an influx of cheap Ukrainian imports that they said distorted prices and demand.

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the deal “preserves Ukraine’s export capacity so it continues to feed the world and the livelihoods of our farmers.”

($1 = 0.9070 euros)

(Reporting by Andrew Gray, Sudeep Kar-Gupta); Editing by Sandra Mahler

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