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East European countries want more EU checks on Ukraine grain corridors

Combines harvest wheat in a field in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict near the settlement of Nikolske in the Donetsk Region, Russian-controlled Ukraine, July 19, 2023. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

PRAGUE, Sept 26 (Reuters) – Countries from the EU’s eastern wing on Tuesday called on the

European Commission to boost checks on solidarity lanes for Ukrainian grains and introduce a deposit system for exports.

Ukraine has been in dispute with neighbouring allies over restrictions on its grain, which it has been forced to send overland since Russia’s invasion last year.

The EU created alternative land routes, so-called Solidarity Lanes, for Ukraine to use to export its grains and oilseeds, but its neighbours have argued that cheap Ukrainian agricultural goods meant to be in transit get sold locally, harming their own farmers.

Hungary, Poland and Slovakia imposed national restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports this month after the European Commission decided not to extend a ban on imports into those countries and fellow bloc members Bulgaria and Romania.

“We prefer finding a common Union-wide solution,” Czech Agriculture Minister Marek Vyborny said on Tuesday after hosting a meeting with counterparts from Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

“We together are calling on the European Commission to take an active approach to controls on the effectiveness of the corridors of solidarity.”

Russia backed out of a U.N.-brokered Black Sea grain deal in July this year that had allowed safe passage for the cargo ships, putting more stress on shipments.

Vyborny said the four countries also agreed that the Commission should also consider a deposit scheme for exports.

The deposit would be required from traders exporting from Ukraine and would be returned when it was determined that the grain had left Europe for its final destinations.

Reporting by Jan Lopatka and Jason Hovet; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Susan Fenton

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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