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Commentators approve the ban on Ukrainian grain imports

April 21st, 2023

Pro-government columnists lambast the European Union for failing to direct Ukrainian grain shipments to third countries in need, while a left-wing commentator thinks the import ban has come too late. (For the temporary ban announced by the Hungarian government, see BudaPost, April 20.)

On Magyar Hírlap, Károly Bán vituperates ahgainst the European Commission which only decided to pay compensation to Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian farmers for the damage they have suffered as a result of dumped cheap Ukrainian agricultural products. Hungary, Romania and Slovakia are unjustly discriminated against, he writes. At any rate, he puts the damage suffered by east European countries at 417 million Euros, while the European Commission has only decided to disburse 50 million (with another 100 million to be added shortly) as compensation.

In Magyar Nemzet, László Szentesi Zöldi takes the case as proof that the competences of the European Commission should be cut back. The European Union decided to lift the import levies on Ukrainian agricultural products to help them reach their original destinations outside Europe. Instead, those goods have flooded the east-European markets with disastrous consequences for local producers. When the countries concerned complained, the EU didn’t react. Poland, Hungary and Slovakia then felt obliged to only permit transit shipments, whereupon the EU swiftly reprimanded them. That is too much, Szentesi Zöldi writes.

In Népszava, András Törő also deems the massive imports of Ukrainian produce that do not meet European environmental standards damaging but believes that the Hungarian government should have acted sooner. By now, he writes, silos are full of Ukrainian grain, and it is doubtful if there will be enough storage space for this year’s harvest. EU authorities, he writes are also guilty of not doing anything to prevent such produce from being sold in Eastern Europe instead of reaching the original destinations.

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