site.btaBulgaria Wants Much Larger Compensations for Ukrainian Wheat Exports
President Rumen Radev said on Friday that Bulgaria will insist on larger EU compensation payments to Bulgarian farmers affected by Ukrainian wheat exports. Radev argued that while the need to provide transport corridors for Ukrainian farm exports to non-EU countries is perfectly understandable, wheat exports from Ukraine should not be allowed to distort the Bulgarian market and damage Bulgarian farmers' interests.
The President was speaking to Bulgarian journalists in Brussels after a European Council meeting.
Discussing the support which the EU has provided so far to the worst affected countries in close proximity to Ukraine, Radev said Bulgaria is the recipient of EUR 16 million out of a EUR 56 million package of targeted aid. "This is far from enough, so we joined Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland in calling for far larger aid to match the losses sustained by our agricultural producers. This will be subject to earnest discussion in the EU," the President said.
Concerning the EU decisions about helping Ukraine, Radev said Bulgaria supports the European Peace Facility. "Thanks to this facility, we will upgrade our defence industry and expand its capacity." The President stressed, though, that Bulgaria and nine other countries are staying out of an agreement to supply a million artillery shells to Ukraine by the year's end. "Bulgaria is part of the common political framework for supporting Ukraine together with all other EU Member States. Individual states that want to share in the supply of those million shells as a joint delivery to Ukraine should turn to the European Defence Agency and sign an agreement," he explained. The shells supply agreement involves 17 Member States, while another 10 Member States, including Bulgaria, do not take part in this initiative
Asked whether Bulgaria would reckon with the war crimes arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Radev said the EU countries' present relations with Russia are not conducive to a visit by Putin, and therefore, "the question is pointless".
According to Radev, the EU heads of state and government praised Bulgaria for protecting the bloc's external border. "The European Commission President has explicitly identified Bulgaria's border with Turkiye as a priority for all Member States, and the technical parameters of European aid for the protection of that border are being sorted out expeditiously," he said. The joint project with the European Commission is expected to start in April.
The President has raised the matter of expensive natural gas injected into the Bulgarian storage facility at Chiren, a kind of problem which faces other Member States, too. He told the journalists that using expensive gas from national storage facilities will push market prices up. "The European Commission will shortly analyze the issue and will adopt a decision on support for the worst hit countries," he said.