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Czech Republic, Poland, and Three Baltic States Urge EU Commission to Ban Grain Imports from Russia and Belarus to EU

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Photo: Czech Republic, Poland, and Three Baltic States Urge EU Commission to Ban Grain Imports from Russia and Belarus to EU. Source: Collage The Gaze \ by Leonid Lukashenko
Photo: Czech Republic, Poland, and Three Baltic States Urge EU Commission to Ban Grain Imports from Russia and Belarus to EU. Source: Collage The Gaze \ by Leonid Lukashenko

At the initiative of Lithuania, the agriculture ministers of five countries are calling on the European Commission to ban grain imports from Russia to Europe. In their joint letter to the European Commissioners, the ministers of agriculture of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland and the Czech Republic ask the Commission to ensure that EU member states cooperate to effectively implement the ban across the EU. The ministers also stressed the need to prevent the sale of grain stolen from Ukraine on the EU market.

According to Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture Kęstutis Navickos, EU sanctions against Russia, the aggressor, are not enough, so additional measures are needed to restrict the access of Russian goods to the EU market.

"We are asking the European Commission to analyse the possibility of restricting imports of food products originating from Russia and Belarus to the EU. With the joint appeal of the four countries, we aim to solve an urgent problem that unites us. While Russia is waging a brutal illegal war against Ukraine, its grain continues to enter the EU market. For example, in 2023, the EU imported 1.53 million tonnes of Russian grain worth €437.5 million," Minister Navickas said.

The ministers of agriculture of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, and the Czech Republic also emphasise that Russia uses profits from grain exports to the EU to finance the war with Ukraine. These funds are used to produce missiles, drones and other weapons used to destroy civilian infrastructure, homes and people.

"As EU member states, we believe it is necessary to fulfil our moral obligation to stop any trade activity that could strengthen the capacity of Russia and its supporting Belarus to continue the conflict in Ukraine, especially as some of Russia's imports may include stolen grain from the occupied territories of Ukraine. In addition, Russian imports put pressure on the EU's internal market and directly compete with EU farmers' products. Therefore, we are ready to work with you to address the immediate challenges caused by the Russian war and to find long-term solutions that ensure the EU's role in sustainable trade and global food security," the appeal to the European Commission reads.

The joint appeal was signed by Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture Kestutis Navickas, Latvian Minister of Agriculture Armands Krause, Estonian Minister of Regional Affairs Madis Kallas, Polish Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Czeslaw Siekerski, and Czech Minister of Agriculture Marek Vyborny.

A speech on this issue is planned at the next meeting of the EU Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries on 26 March.


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