April 14, 2024

Farmers across Bulgaria began protests against the country’s parliament deciding to resume imports of agricultural products from Ukraine, Forbes Bulgaria reported on Sept. 18.

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By 10:00 a.m. local time, farmers had brought heavy farming equipment onto major roadways, blocking traffic. They shut down border crossings, major roads, and highways in the country.

The protesters are demanding the government extends the ban on imports of Ukrainian sunflower, wheat, corn, and rape seeds. They also want a ban on the import of sunflower oil, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy products, meat and meat products, honey, and beekeeping products from Ukraine.

Additionally, farmers insist on stricter controls over the origin and quality of agricultural products imported into the country. They are also demanding full compensation for “increased production costs due to war” to be paid by Sept. 30.

Bulgarian PM Nikolai Denkov said the protesting farmers had rejected his two invitations for dialogue. He stated he “will not invite them [for talks] until they say they are ready to meet.”

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Previously, Denkov described the farmers’ arguments as “unworkable,” comparing them to “terrorists”, attracting criticism from local farm workers and some politicians.

Read also: Hungary threatens to introduce total ban on Ukraine agro imports

On Sept. 15, the European Commission decided not to extend the ban on importing Ukrainian grains into Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia, provided that Ukraine adheres to certain rules, such as implementing export control measures.

Read also: Brussels allows Ukraine grain import ban to expire

After this, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia announced they would unilaterally continue the ban on importing Ukrainian grains. Besides wheat, rapeseed, sunflower, and corn, Poland has banned the import of groats and flour into the country, while Hungary has expanded the list to 25 items.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine

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