The European Commission wants to relax some rules on sustainable agriculture and restrict the import of Ukrainian agricultural products. Farmers in several EU countries have protested in recent days against alleged unfair competition and environmental requirements. The influx of cheap Ukrainian goods and strict climate regulations would make farming impossible for them.
Farmers will not have to leave their land fallow at the present time. This abhorrent measure was supposed to take effect this year, but the committee postponed it for a year. Farmers were at risk of losing agricultural subsidies if they did not leave 4 percent of their fields uncultivated.
Ukraine will be allowed to export to the European Union without import duties for at least another year, if the Commission achieves its goal. The commission proposes that such a tax be paid on poultry, eggs and sugar if Ukraine exports more than in recent years. In addition, “rapid corrective measures” could be taken if a member state faces a problem due to Ukrainian exports. Now this is only a problem if the entire union is affected.
Relaxed trade rules have been in place for Ukraine since the Russian invasion nearly two years ago. The European Union expressed its hope to keep the Ukrainian economy afloat. But neighboring European Union member states in particular complain about the suffering of their farmers. They will not be able to compete with the cheap grains and other products flooding their markets, after agricultural giant Ukraine has had difficulty supplying its old customers, for example, in the Middle East and Africa.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's colleagues in the Christian Democratic Party have been pushing in the European Parliament in recent days to restrict imports from Ukraine. French farmers block traffic arteries and threaten to paralyze Paris. Macron and the European center-right want to provide assistance to farmers, also in light of the approaching European elections. They warn that far-right parties risk gaining more from waves of farmer protests than already expected.
EU countries and the European Parliament still have to consider the committee's proposals. If they agree, Ukraine's moderate import regime will be extended with modifications until early June next year. (AP)
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