The European Commission says it reached a deal with five member countries to lift restrictions on imports of Ukrainian grain across their borders. File Photo by Erdem Sahin/EPA-EFE
April 29 (UPI) -- The European Commission says it has reached a deal with five member countries to lift restrictions on imports of Ukrainian grain across their borders.
"We have acted to address concerns of both farmers in neighboring EU countries and Ukraine," EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said in a statement issued Friday. addressing concerns of the five eastern member countries.
Earlier this month, Poland joined Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in enacting restrictions on imports of Ukrainian grain. Romania also raised objections and was part of Saturday's agreement, but never formally imposed import restrictions.
The five countries are attempting to protect the agricultural sectors of their domestic economies after farmers complained the markets were being flooded with excess grain from Ukraine at a cheaper price.
Ukrainian agricultural exports have been limited since Russia's invasion more than a year ago, cutting off access to port cities. The majority of exports that do leave the country travel east, ending up first in the five EU countries.
The European Commission will provide a collective $111 million to the five countries as well as special protection safeguard measures on wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds.
"I'm glad to announce that we have reached a political agreement concerning Ukrainian agri-food imports in the EU," Dombrovskis said Friday during a speech. "We've agreed with the five neighboring EU member states and Ukraine on how we'll tackle the situation."
Dombrovskis did not elaborate on specifics but said the deal will allow Ukraine's economy to stay afloat by permitting the shipments while addressing the concerns of farmers and the agricultural sectors of the five affected countries.
"We have just now finalized agreements with the European Union regarding the ban on the import of these agricultural products, which above all led to destabilization in the Polish market," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said following the news.
The deal "preserves both Ukraine's exports capacity so it continues feeding the world, and our farmers' livelihoods," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.