The European Union's proposals to better control Ukrainian agricultural imports are insufficient, six farmers' organisations said Thursday, threatening further demonstrations if tighter restrictions aren't imposed.

The European Commission proposed in late January to renew for another year starting in June the duty-free status of Ukrainian products, which was introduced in 2022 to support the country as it fights off Russia's invasion.

The EU recently offered various safeguard measures which could be triggered in the case of "extreme necessity", such as limiting duty-free poultry, egg and sugar imports to average import levels from 2022-2023.

The proposals, which are being examined by member states and the European Parliament, were rejected by Copa-Cogeca, which groups the main EU farmers unions, and by five European organisations representing individual sectors.


"Should the Commission's proposed text remain unamended, the economic sustainability of the EU's poultry, eggs, sugar, grain, and honey sectors would be jeopardized," the groups said in a joint statement.

Limiting imports of three products to last year's levels isn't enough because "it is precisely these volumes that have contributed to the current plight of EU producers," it said, while "no restrictions are planned for grains and honey."

"Unfortunately, apart from a few determined Member States and courageous MEPs, it appears that the Council and the European Parliament are not inclined to take action," the statement said.

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Farmer protests broke out across Europe in January, and better controlling the supposedly unfair competition from Ukraine was one of the main demands.

The farmers say Ukrainian products that once headed to Africa or the Middle East are now staying in Europe, under-cutting local producers.

They also say Ukrainian producers aren't subject to the EU's higher environmental and social standards.

"Farmers in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia are currently selling their products at prices approximately 40 percent below the standard market price," the statement said, "with thousands of farms facing imminent threat of collapse."


It said grain, poultry, and sugar producers in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria are now starting to experience "significant pressure."

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