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Budapest not planning to lift ban on Ukrainian grain import, Hungarian FM says

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 6, 2024 5:12 PM 2 min read
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto in Brussels, Sept. 9, 2022. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
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The Hungarian government isn't planning on lifting its ban on Ukrainian grain imports, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on June 6 while visiting St. Petersburg, Russia, for the International Economic Forum, Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported.

Budapest extended restrictions on the import of 24 Ukrainian agricultural products, including grain, in September 2023, despite the European Commission lifting the ban the same month.

Hungarian Agriculture Minister Istvan Nagy said in September that Hungary would "safeguard the interests of local farmers," keeping the ban in effect.

"We have a very clear position. We have banned the import of Ukrainian grain to Hungary. And we are not going to change our policy," Szijjarto said, adding that cheap Ukrainian grain allegedly put European farmers "in a very difficult situation," which Budapest would like to avoid.

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Szijjarto also claimed that Hungary was one of the European countries most affected by the war in Ukraine, referring to energy supplies.

Energy prices have skyrocketed, with the annual cost of Hungarian imports rising from 7 billion ($7.6 billion) to 17 billion euros ($18.5 billion), while a 10 billion euros ($10.8 billion) difference represents 6% of gross domestic product, according to Szijjarto.

Budapest has repeatedly opposed Ukraine's accession to NATO and the EU, sanctions on Russia, undermined Western aid efforts for Ukraine, and maintained close relations with Moscow throughout the full-scale war.

In mid-May, Hungary vetoed a resolution in the Council of Europe to officially recognize and support President Volodymyr Zelensky's 10-point peace formula, which will be discussed during the upcoming summit.

Hungary to participate in Ukraine’s peace summit, FM confirms
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto confirmed his participation at Ukraine’s peace summit while visiting St. Petersburg for the International Economic Forum, the Hungarian news outlet Telex reported on June 6.

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