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Romania vows support for Ukraine's EU aspirations, grain transit

by Martin Fornusek October 2, 2023 4:39 PM 3 min read
Luminita Odobescu, the foreign minister of Romania, speaking at a press conference with Foreign Minister Baerbock after their talks at the Federal Foreign Office. (Photo credit: Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Romania will continue to assist Ukraine in terms of military aid, grain transit, as well Kyiv's aspirations to join the European Union, Romanian Foreign Minister Luminita Odobescu said on Oct. 2, as reported by Ukrinform.

"Romania and some of the other (EU) members with the longest borders with Ukraine understand well the consequences of the war in Ukraine," the official said in Kyiv ahead of the meeting of the EU's foreign ministers.

"Today, we will discuss the security and military situation, as well as assistance to Ukraine both bilaterally and within the EU and NATO frameworks."

Odobescu recalled that Russia's war against Ukraine directly affects Romania as well, as debris from Russian drones has been found on Romanian soil.

Romania wants to transit 60% of Ukrainian grain
Bucharest hopes that around 60% of Ukrainian grain exports could transit through Romanian territory following Russia’s unilateral termination of the grain deal, the country’s Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said on Aug. 18, Reuters reported.

Russian forces often target the Ukrainian ports of Izmail and Reni on the Danube River, only a few hundred meters from the Romanian border.

Odobescu also noted that over 25 million metric tons of Ukrainian grain shipped through the EU's solidarity corridors have been transported through Romania. Marcel Ciolacu, the country's prime minister, said earlier in August that Bucharest hopes to transit around 60% of Ukrainian grain through its territory.

"We are working closely with the government of Ukraine, the European Commission, and other partners to increase transit capacity from 2 million to 4 million (metric) tons per month by the end of this year," Odobescu said.

The solidarity corridors, instituted by the EU in May 2022 to facilitate Ukraine's agricultural exports, have allowed for more than 45 million metric tons of Ukrainian produce to reach global markets.

Odobescu also affirmed Bucharest's backing for Ukraine's accession to the EU. According to the foreign minister, Romania supports the start of the membership talks already this year.

The European Commission is expected to issue its decision regarding the start of Ukraine's membership talks later this month. According to Bloomberg, the EU's executive body is expected to back the start of the accession negotiations.

EU foreign ministers are convening in Kyiv on Oct. 2 for the first Foreign Affairs Council meeting held outside the bloc's borders. Borrell said that the meeting will address the present and future support by Europe for Ukraine's struggle against Russian aggression.

Bloomberg: EU Commission to recommend Ukraine membership talks
The European Commission is planning to recommend starting EU membership talks with Ukraine in October, Bloomberg reported on Sept. 22, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
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