V4 countries call for EU to tighten controls on Ukraine grain routes

Prague, Sep 27 (IANS): The Agriculture Ministers of the Visegrad Group (V4) countries have called on the European Union (EU) to tighten control on the routes for Ukraine's grain exports and to introduce new measures.

"We want to propose the European Commission to introduce refundable deposits or another financial mechanism for traders who import grain from Ukraine. If they can prove that the grains leave Europe via the Baltic or Polish ports, they will get their money back," Czech Minister of Agriculture Marek Vyborny said on Tuesday in a statement.

He made the remarks following a meeting with his counterparts from Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in the southern Czech town of Znojmo. Ukraine's Agrarian Policy and Food Minister Mykola Solskyi also participated in the meeting online.

"It is essential that Ukraine be able to guarantee us that its grain exports will go to third countries through the so-called solidarity corridors and will not stay in Europe ... and thus disrupt the market," Vyborny added.

"We want guarantees that the grains do not end up in EU countries and thus disrupt the market."

The Minister also said that it is necessary to look for "an EU-wide solution" instead of unilateral bans to make the solidarity corridors more efficient.

The EU has been supporting the export of Ukrainian grains and other foodstuffs, notably through the solidarity corridors. However, the move has led to temporary distortions in the markets of five member states neighbouring Ukraine, Xinhua news agency reported.

In May, the European Commission imposed a ban on grain exports from Ukraine to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Earlier this month, the Commission decided to drop the ban, but Hungary, Poland and Slovakia said that they would continue the embargo on Ukraine's grains, causing disputes with Ukraine.

The Czech Republic currently holds the one-year V4 presidency. The V4 Ministers also discussed forestry strategies and legislation during their meeting.



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