skip to Main Content

EU Proposes Curbs on Ukraine Ag Imports

Yahoo News’ Julien Girault reported Wednesday that “with farmers venting their anger across Europe, the European Union said Wednesday it would create ‘safeguards’ to stop cheap Ukrainian imports from flooding the market and ease highly contested rules on leaving land unused.”

The proposal “introduces an ’emergency brake’ for the most sensitive products – poultry, eggs and sugar – allowing tariffs if (Ukrainian) imports exceed the average levels of 2022 and 2023,” Reuters’ Philip Blenkinsop reported. “It also allows the Commission to impose measures if the markets of one or more EU members are disrupted by a surge of imports of other farm produce, such as grains. In critical cases, these could be in place 21 days after a request is made.”

The proposal still requires “approval from EU governments and the European Parliament,” according to reporting from Reuters’ Gus Trompiz and Christian Levaux.

While the Commission is proposing emergency safeguards, it will still “extend the suspension of import duties on Ukrainian exports for another year to June 2025,” Blenkinsop wrote. “They were originally suspended in 2022 to support Ukraine’s economy following the Russian invasion, which has hit shipments via the traditional Black Sea route.”

Farmer Protests
The proposal from the European Commission comes as farmer protests in France become more widespread, leading the French government on Wednesday to send  “armoured vehicles to protect a wholesale food market in Paris in a sign of escalating tensions as farmers blocked highways in France and Belgium and protests spread elsewhere in Europe,” Trompiz and Levaux wrote. “Spanish and Italian farmers said they were joining the protest movement which has also hit Germany, aiming to press governments to ease environmental rules and shield them from rising costs and cheap imports.”
While the cheap Ukrainian imports are one of the main reasons for farmer protests, “European Commission vice president Margaritis Schinas said EU monitoring of Ukrainian imports had not shown a detrimental impact on the market as a whole, but acknowledged ‘some adverse effects which are more localised in a few countries,'” Girault reported.
European farmers are also protesting because they “say they are not being paid enough and are choked by excessive regulation on environmental protection,” Reuters’ Trompiz and Sybille De La Hamaide report.
European farmers have “said they would continue to block highways and ports until all their demands were met,” Trompiz and Levaux wrote. “Farmers in Belgium, Italy and beyond said they would rally in Brussels for the (EU leaders) summit.”
Proposal Reaction

“In Kyiv, Prime Minister Denis Shmygal welcomed the Commission’s tariff proposal, including what he called ‘clearer instruments of control’ to avoid potential conflicts over agriculture as Ukraine seeks EU membership,” Girault wrote. “He voiced hope the measures would persuade Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to end unilateral restrictions on Ukrainian imports, which fly in the face of EU competition rules.”

On the other hand, “the powerful EU farmers union Copa-Cogeca — while it welcomed the introduction of some safeguards — said they did not cover enough areas and would not ‘provide sufficient relief,'” Girault wrote.

“Arnaud Rousseau, head of France’s main farmers’ union FNSEA, said the Commission was acting ‘woefully’ late, that controls were required immediately and that the emergency brake limits should be set at 2022 levels,” Blenkinsop reported.

Ryan Hanrahan is the farm policy news editor and social media director for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked in local news, primarily as an agriculture journalist in the American West. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri (B.S. Science & Agricultural Journalism).

Back To Top