Hungary bans import of Ukraine honey, select meat products

The ban is in addition to grain
calendar icon 20 April 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Hungary has banned imports of honey and certain meat products in addition to grains from Ukraine until June 30, the prime minister's chief of staff said on Thursday, increasing pressure on Brussels to broaden proposed European Union-wide measures, according to Reuters.

The European Commission said on Wednesday it would take emergency "preventive measures" for wheat, maize, sunflower seeds and rapeseed after some central European countries took unilateral steps to ban imports of food products from Ukraine to protect their own agricultural sectors.

However, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, whose ministers took part in talks with European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis on Wednesday, want the list to be longer, including products like milk, poultry and honey.

The Hungarian ban on imports of major cereals and agricultural products "includes a total of 25 products, the most important of which are cereals, rapeseed and sunflower seeds, flour, oil, honey and certain meat products", Gergely Gulyas said.

The government's announcement came after Hungary's Agriculture Minister Istvan Nagy demanded the expansion of any EU-wide import ban to include "eggs, honey and poultry", in a Facebook post late on Wednesday.

Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus also said on Thursday that the list should be longer.

"We propose more products than they (the EU) proposed," he told a news conference. "They proposed four cereals, the five of us propose more of these products."

Nagy also told state news agency MTI on Wednesday that Hungary will continue to allow transit of Ukrainian grain, ensuring the departure of such shipments "in a controlled manner".

"It was worthwhile for Hungary to take firm action and protect the interests of Hungarian farmers," he said, referring to the ban, adding the measures forced Brussels to take action.

An EU official said the proposals would only allow the grains to enter the five countries from Ukraine if they were set for export to other EU members or to the rest of the world. This measure would last until the end of June.

The countries became transit routes for Ukrainian grain that could not be exported through Ukraine's Black Sea ports because of Russia's invasion.

Bottlenecks then trapped millions of tons of grains in countries bordering Ukraine, forcing local farmers to compete with an influx of cheap Ukrainian imports.

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