site.btaSolidarity Lanes Are Effectively Channels for Swift and Duty Free Ukrainian Imports - Deputy Agriculture Minister Sabev
While Bulgaria supports the so-called solidarity lanes to help Ukraine export agricultural goods, it finds that, regrettably, these lanes are in effect channels for imports to the European Union in unprecedentedly rapid time, said Deputy Agriculture Minister Georgi Sabev in Dobrich on Monday.
According to him, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Czechia and Slovakia are the worst-hit by these duty-free Ukrainian imports and for Bulgaria the import of sunflower seeds is a serious problem, while for the others the imports of wheat and corn. "Wheat imports from Ukraine to Bulgaria have grown, but the situation with sunflower seed is incomparable. Within a year imports have grown over 20 times from 37,000 tonnes in 2021 to over 830,000 tonnes in 2022," he said.
Sabev said that last week he met with EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski and said that 16.75 million euro from the agricultural reserve earmarked for Bulgaria are not enough to cover the expenses incurred by Bulgarian farmers because of Ukrainian imports. "The Commissioner made a commitment to review the regulations. We have been assured by our Romanian colleagues that they will also request that the money is increased because they find it insufficient. I hope that the European Commission will heed to our appeal," said the Deputy Minister.
The Agriculture Minister is in contact with the Bulgarian grain producers who are planning protests for March 29-31. "We support Bulgarian grain producers in their protests. This problem should be made visible," he said.