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AGRICULTURE MINISTER DISCUSSES UKRAINIAN GRAIN INFLUX, FARMERS' PROTESTS WITH SLOVAK COUNTERPART

 

Agriculture Minister István Nagy on Tuesday met his recently appointed Slovak counterpart, Richard Takáč, to discuss the difficulties caused by the inflow of Ukrainian grain into European markets, the farmers’ protests in Europe, trade and animal health, the ministry said on Tuesday. Nagy called for closer cooperation as a key to better representation of shared interests. Even amid a “wholly new set of requirements” brought by the new Strategic Plans of the Common Agricultural Policy, Hungary managed to pre-finance 70% of EU funding for 136,000 farmers, he said. To protect Hungarian farmers, the government will maintain the ban on Ukrainian grain it announced on its own authority last year, “in view of the lack of EU action”, he said. Nagy said Hungarian farmers would join the protesters in Brussels, demonstrating against EU agricultural policies. “Hungary would like as many member states as possible to support its fight in Brussels against the threat posed by Ukrainian agriculture.”
Ukraine’s EU accession would bring lasting difficulties for Hungarian producers “as Hungarian farmers working amid the limits of EU regulations can’t compete with [giant] Ukrainian farms which are in the hands of global capital and must abide by much laxer rules”, he said. Nagy said Hungary’s upcoming EU presidency would head the negotiations on CAP regulations after 2027, adding that Hungary would focus on crisis management during the talks. Reducing food waste and preserving the EU’s “food sovereignty” will also be high on the agenda, he said. “We will insist that food arriving from third countries must fulfil the same requirements as EU produce,” he said.