Fresh support agreed by EU for Ukraine

Martin Banks
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Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper), Parliament and EU member states have reached a new provisional agreement on extending temporary trade measures for Ukraine.

MEPs and the Council presidency agreed on suspending import duties and quotas on Ukrainian agricultural exports to the EU for another year, until 5 June 2025, to support Ukraine.

These unilateral trade liberalization measures will, says the EU, help stabilize the Ukrainian economy and facilitate the country’s gradual integration into the EU’s internal market.

Should there be significant disruption to the EU market or the markets of one or more EU countries due to Ukrainian imports, for instance, wheat, the regulation ensures that the Commission can take swift action and impose any measures it deems necessary.

As part of reinforced safeguard measures to protect EU farmers, an emergency brake can be triggered for particularly sensitive agricultural products, namely poultry, eggs, sugar, oats, groats, maize, and honey.

Negotiators agreed to extend the reference period used as a base for triggering this automatic safeguard, meaning that if imports of these products surpass the average of import volumes recorded in the second half of 2021, and all of 2022 and 2023, tariffs would be re-imposed.

In addition, the Commission commits to step up its monitoring of imports of grain, in particular wheat. 

The co-legislators also endorsed a commitment by the Commission to discuss permanent tariff liberalization with Ukraine under the review process of the Association Agreement as soon as the legislative procedure on the temporary liberalization is completed, and to keep the Parliament closely involved in the process.

Rapporteur Sandra Kalniete, an EPP MEP, said: “The ripple effects of Russia’s relentless targeting of Ukraine and its economy are being felt by EU farmers. Under this new agreement with the Council, we have fortified safeguards to protect EU farmers in case of market turbulence sparked by Ukrainian imports.”

She added, “By extending the trade support measures for another year, this agreement is also a testament to the EU’s continued solidarity and unwavering support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s brutal war of aggression until Ukraine’s victory.”

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Martin Banks is an experienced British-born journalist who has been covering the EU beat (and much else besides) in Brussels since 2001. Previously, he had worked for many years in regional journalism in the UK and freelanced for national titles. He has a keen interest in foreign affairs and has closely followed the workings of the European Parliament and MEPs in particular for some years.