BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s high farm official stated Tuesday that the bloc was on the cusp of ending a harmful inside standoff over a destabilizing glut of Ukraine farm imports by granting 5 jap member states the suitable to briefly ban essentially the most contentious produce.

Resolving the problem rapidly would permit the EU to keep up a unified stance within the face of Russia’s invasion of its neighbor.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski stated after daylong talks among the many 27 farm ministers that the EU is near permitting Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania a brief import ban on 5 farm merchandise that make up the overwhelming mass of exports from Ukraine which have flooded their markets throughout the battle.

“I can see that the whole lot reveals that this determination will likely be permitted by by the member states, by the (European) Council within the spirit of solidarity,” Wojciechowski stated. ”We’re very near the ultimate settlement,” he added with out elaborating what points had been nonetheless left on the desk.

After the 27-nation bloc lifted Ukrainian farm import restrictions final yr to assist the nation ship its prized cereal manufacturing on to the world and overcome Russia’s blockage, a number of jap nations had been inundated with imports that flooded native markets.

“We totally perceive that these 5 member states requested to introduce measures towards this oversupply of merchandise from Ukraine, as a result of it creates many issues for the farmers in these front-line international locations,” the commissioner stated.

To guard their farmers, they unilaterally imposed bans on Ukraine imports for his or her nationwide markets, a transfer that goes towards the precept that the EU units commerce coverage for all 27 nations, and provides an impression that the bloc is preventing internally as a substitute of dealing with Russia collectively.

Beneath the European Fee’s plan, the bloc would principally settle for the bans on the 5 major merchandise — wheat, maize, rapeseed, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil — that account for 90% of imports, however flip down their request to additionally embrace honey, sugar, poultry and another secondary merchandise.

Earlier than the assembly, the precarious scenario of farmers in jap member states might already depend on some understanding amongst different member states.

“We’d like joint solidarity and our stand within the markets should be a standard one,” French Farm Minister Marc Fesneau stated. Others fearful that the EU’s united stance by one yr of the Russian invasion would begin to collapse.

After final yr’s Russian blockade saved shipments from leaving Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, the EU lifted duties on Ukrainian grain to facilitate its transport to Africa and the Center East by different routes and provided to pay some compensation to farmers in transit international locations, which they stated was inadequate.

Total, there was acceptance that the lifting of import tariffs had severely skewed the native markets in nations near Ukraine. In Poland, wheat imports went from 2,375 tons in 2021 to 500,008 tons final yr. Maize went from 5,863 tons to greater than 1.8 million over the identical interval.

Comparable large will increase had been additionally evident in Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.

Final week, European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen wrote a letter to the leaders of the 5 nations with a set of proposals that she stated “responds particularly to the considerations of front-line member states and stakeholders, together with farmers, and can permit us to react even faster sooner or later.”

The letter acknowledged the problems that farmers encountered after the EU lifted duties on Ukrainian grain to ease exports when Russia’s battle in Ukraine choked off shipments by conventional routes.

The European Fee’s proposals additionally constructed on an preliminary help bundle of 56.3 million euros for essentially the most affected farmers within the front-line international locations with the potential of a second bundle of 100 million euros.

Observe AP’s protection of the battle in Ukraine:

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