Bulgaria has temporarily blocked imports of Ukrainian grain and 20 other food products to protect the local market, the country's acting Agriculture Minister Yavor Gechev said on April 19, as cited by national radio.
The import ban will last from April 24 until June 30. It will not apply to the transit of food from Ukraine through Bulgarian territory if the goods are sealed at the border.
Earlier, Gechev said his country was considering a ban on Ukraine grain imports following a similar decision by Poland and Hungary, adding there would be too much grain in the country "unless we take appropriate action." Slovakia also banned Ukrainian grain from its markets over pesticides found in the grain that are prohibited in the European Union.
The EU claimed such unilateral decisions by member states were unacceptable, with Budapest and Warsaw later agreeing to resume the transit of Ukrainian grain through its territories.
Bulgaria expects a pan-European decision to be adopted on the "solidarity lanes," Gechev said at a briefing, adding that if Brussels reacts quickly, the ban can be lifted before the scheduled date.
The EU established "solidarity lanes" to help Ukraine export agricultural goods following Russia's full-scale invasion and the blockade of Ukrainian sea ports.
Cheap Ukrainian grain has been flooding the EU market since the beginning of the invasion, helped by the European Union waiving customs duties and import quotas to keep Ukraine's agricultural sector running.
Low-price grain prices prove too tempting for local buyers and traders, undercutting local producers.