EU states and the European Parliament on Monday agreed tougher restrictions on some Ukraine farm imports, European Union presidency holder Belgium said.

The accord extends the duty-free access the bloc has given to Ukrainian agricultural goods since Russia's 2022 invasion, but sets caps for poultry, eggs, sugar, maize, groats and honey to average volumes seen between mid-2021 and end-2023.

No cap was applied to wheat, which countries such as France and Poland had initially argued for.

Lawmakers are eyeing June elections that will usher in a new parliament. Many, especially conservatives and on the far-right, are keen to show European farmers that they are in their corner.

The preliminary agreement still has to be formalised. A late-Monday meeting of EU ambassadors gave its approval on behalf of member countries. A European Parliament committee is to weigh it on Tuesday before giving its assent.

Advertisement

Diplomats had previously said the caps would trim around 240 million euros ($260 million) from the amount Ukrainian farm products earn in the EU, compared with 2023.

Ukraine says it supplies only around one percent of the EU's eggs and two percent of its poultry while making up for a deficit of sugar on the EU market.

The European Union has sought to maintain solidarity with Ukraine while listening to European farmers who have been protesting low incomes partly blamed on Ukrainian goods they say are undercutting their markets.

Russia 'Bogged Down' in Battle for Border Town, Ukraine's Army Chief Says
Other Topics of Interest

Russia 'Bogged Down' in Battle for Border Town, Ukraine's Army Chief Says

Kyiv has been battling a Russian land assault on its northeastern Kharkiv region since May 10, when thousands of troops stormed the border, making their biggest territorial advances in 18 months.

The extension of duty-free imports of Ukrainian agricultural products is to kick in before the current exemption period runs out on June 5.

The European Parliament issued a statement saying that if there was "significant disruption to the EU market or the markets of one or more EU countries due to Ukrainian imports, for instance wheat, the regulation ensures that the (European) Commission can take swift action and impose any measures it deems necessary".

The rapporteur for the accord, Sandra Kalniete of the centre-right PPE grouping, said it "fortified safeguards to protect EU farmers in case of market turbulence sparked by Ukrainian imports."

Advertisement

"The ripple effects of Russia's relentless targeting of Ukraine and its economy are being felt by EU farmers," she said in a statement.

The farmers' union grouping COPA-COGECA and five farming federations said in a statement that the deal did not go far enough.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter