EU Committee Backs Farmers in Trade Talks with Ukraine

Written by Camilla Jessen

Feb.28 - 2024 8:05 AM CET

Photo: Fabrizio Maffei /
Photo: Fabrizio Maffei /
The European Parliament's agriculture committee votes in favor of stronger trade safeguards to protect EU farmers amidst ongoing trade liberalization talks with Ukraine.

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EU farming groups have expressed their approval following a critical vote by the European Parliament's agriculture committee. The vote called for enhanced protections against food imports amid plans to further liberalize trade with Ukraine, as reported by Euractiv.

In late January, the European Commission proposed extending the suspension of import quotas and customs duties on Ukrainian exports to the EU for another year, incorporating safeguards for agricultural products as requested by several EU member states.

Despite these safeguards, major EU farmer and food producer associations fear the measures could disrupt the EU food market's stability.

The agriculture committee's Monday evening decision has been seen as a victory for EU farmers, urging the Trade Committee to consider similar protective measures.

Copa and Cogeca, along with other agricultural and food production associations, praised the vote. They urge the Trade Committee to draw inspiration from this outcome.

Striving for Balance in Trade and Protection

The approved opinion suggests that safeguard measures should extend across all sectors and that an "emergency brake" mechanism, initially proposed for poultry, eggs, and sugar, should also include cereals, honey, and oilseeds.

Furthermore, it recommends using the pre-war period of 2021-22 as the benchmark for triggering these safeguards, contrary to the European Commission's suggestion of using the 2022-23 import levels.

MEPs from the agriculture committee propose utilizing funds from the 50-billion-dollar support package for Ukraine to purchase and store excess food imports from Kyiv, aiming to stabilize EU market prices.

The Ukrainian Club of Agrarian Business has made a direct appeal to the Trade Committee members, emphasizing the critical economic implications of their vote for Ukraine.

While the EU Council has already accepted the European Commission's trade liberalization proposal without amendments, the Trade Committee faces pressure from multiple fronts, with 51 amendments under consideration, some reflecting the agricultural committee's recommendations.

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