Bucharest, January 15, 2024 – # RBJ – Transporters and farmers in Romania have been carrying out spontaneous protests for several days. They are dissatisfied with the way some ministries manage the activity, but also with the precarious financial situation they are in since the beginning of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
In the vicinity of Bucharest, columns of high-tonnage vehicles make traffic on the national roads difficult. Several drivers who participated in the spontaneous protest stayed overnight with their trucks and are preparing for a new day of protests.
Government representatives sent the calendar of discussions with the protesting farmers in the Capital and in the country, as well as ways to solve the problems. Today, the PM of the government had a new meeting with the heads of the ministries of agriculture, transport, internal affairs and asked for the de-escalation of the conflicts.
From sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs we are informed that the ministers of agriculture from Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia have sent a letter to the European Commission requesting
the imposition of import duties on grain from Ukraine, citing unfair competition, because the price of cheaper agricultural products from Ukraine affects their export markets.
The five signatories of the letter are among EU member states that produce significantly more wheat and maize than they need, which is essential for European food security and for the EU’s strategic sovereignty, the ministers from the five countries said.
“This is the reason why Brussels must introduce measures to protect the markets of the member states bordering Ukraine, while helping them to use their full export potential,” the letter signed by the five ministers states.
Farmers in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia “suffered significant damage” since the EU suspended import quotas and customs duties on grain from Ukraine last year.
The ministers also ask the European Commission to examine in a report whether the way production is done in Ukraine is in accordance with EU standards.
Following the 2022 Russian invasion, grain exports have been a source of tension between Kiev and its EU neighbors as Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia have become alternative transit routes for Ukrainian grain to help offset slower exports through Ukrainian Black Sea ports. Farmers in these countries have protested against these shipments, arguing that they distort local markets.
Poland, Slovakia and Hungary announced restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports last September after the European Commission decided not to extend the ban on imports to Ukraine’s five EU neighbors. All three bans apply only to domestic imports and do not affect transit to markets.
Ukraine responded by filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization against the three countries, while other EU members condemned the unilateral measures.