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Bulgaria votes to lift its embargo on imports of grain from Ukraine

Bulgaria's parliament votes on the Ukraine grain embargo. Sofia, September 14, 2023
Bulgaria's parliament votes on the Ukraine grain embargo. Sofia, September 14, 2023 Copyright Vadim Ghirda/AP
Copyright Vadim Ghirda/AP
By Euronews with AP, AFP, EVN
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Poland has insisted it will extend the ban, while Romania, Hungary and Slovakia await a ruling by the EU on whether the embargo should continue.

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Bulgaria’s parliament has voted to lift its ban on the import of Ukrainian grain from Friday, September 15.

There were 124 votes in favour, 69 against and eight abstentions.

Euronews
The results of the vote in the Bulgarian parliament, September 14th, 2023Euronews

Bulgaria was one of five countries, acting on a decision by the European Union, to impose an embargo on Ukrainian grains from April until September 15.

Euronews
Bulgarian parliamentarians cast their votes, deciding to drop the embargo ion Ukrainian grain imports. Sept 14, 2023Euronews

Bulgaria’s Minister of Agriculture Kiril Vatev admitted that he had previously supported the idea of extending the ban. He changed his decision on Wednesday after hearing that economic indicators and forecasts show that lifting the ban is “not so worrying” and will not have serious consequences for the Bulgarian economy.

He said: “At the last meeting of the cabinet macro indicators were shown which show that it is not so worrying for Bulgaria to give up on this ban. We increase control over all Ukrainian goods, most of all cereals, and strict control of radioactivity and heavy metals.”

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the vote as an act of true solidarity in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

The European Union was set to decide if Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Poland should extend the ban or drop it.

But Poland is taking a harder line.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said his government will not lift the ban on imports of Ukrainian grain, regardless of the position of the European Commission.

Deputy PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski has stressed that Poland wants to maintain good, friendly relations with Ukraine and supports the country in its war against Russia, but must take care of the interests of the Polish farmers.

The five countries had allowed the transit of sealed goods through their territories to prevent a glut of produce in their home markets.

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