Hungary to extend ban on import of Ukrainian grain, introduce new restrictions
Minister of Agriculture of Hungary Istvan Nagy (Photo: ERA)

Hungary will close the border for Ukrainian grain after September 15, when the EU ban on the import of certain types of agricultural products from Ukraine to five Central European countries expires, Minister of Agriculture of Hungary István Nagy has said, according to the Hungarian publication Agrarszektor.

"If the EU does not extend the ban on the import of some Ukrainian grain products, which expires on September 15, then Hungary will introduce a ban on imports," the publication quotes the official.

The minister added that Hungary will expand the import ban from four types of Ukrainian agricultural products (wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds) to 24 types.

Nagy explained the extension of the ban by the fact that in recent years, Hungarian agriculture has experienced one shock after another: the coronavirus epidemic, the drought, the consequences of the war in Ukraine, and the energy crisis.

According to the minister, cheap Ukrainian agricultural products, which filled the European market duty-free, added to the difficulties of Hungarian agricultural producers.

Back in mid-July, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia held a joint meeting where they demanded that the European Union maintain the embargo on grain from Ukraine after September 15 and until the end of 2023.

In April, Poland , Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria, under the pressure of local producers, suspended the import of grain and other food products from Ukraine.

The countries agreed to cancel unilateral restrictions only after long negotiations with the European Union, as a result of which the European Commission agreed to allocate 100 million euros for compensation to farmers of Ukraine's neighboring countries.

After that, an embargo on the import of several grain and oil crops from Ukraine was approved at the European Union level. These restrictions are valid until mid-September, and the European Commission does not plan to extend them.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Europe to lift the grain embargo because "any restrictions against Ukrainian exports are now unacceptable."

On August 18, Romania promised to ensure the export of 60% of Ukrainian grain.