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EU Parliament proposes additional safeguards for European farmers in Ukraine trade deal

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 13, 2024 9:51 PM 1 min read
The EU and Ukrainian flags in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, July 2023.
The EU and Ukrainian flags in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, July 2023. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
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The European Parliament voted to amend the EU Commission's proposal on extending free trade with Ukraine until 2025, returning the proposal to the parliament's International Trade Committee, the parliament's press service said on March 13.

The parliament's amendments are meant to reinforce "safeguards for EU farmers in case of a surge in Ukrainian products." The changes were backed by 347 members of the parliament (MEP), with 117 voting against it and 99 abstaining.

The EU introduced a free trade agreement for Ukraine to overcome export restrictions following Russia's full-scale invasion and the blockade of Ukraine's Black Sea ports in 2022. Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia became alternative export routes, agitating local farmers.

Polish farmers are currently blocking several crossings with Ukraine in protest to Ukrainian agricultural imports, claiming their Ukrainian competitors are running them out of business.

The International Trade Committee on March 7 supported the European Commission's proposal to again extend the trade agreement from June 2024 until June 2025 while introducing an "emergency brake" in case the import of Ukrainian poultry, sugar, and eggs exceeds the levels from 2022 and 2023.

MEPs voted to amend the proposal to include more sensitive products and a wider reference date for calculating average volumes. The committee should now start negotiating the changes with the EU Council.

The European Parliament also approved the extension of free trade with Moldova until June 2025 without additional changes.

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