Hungary has agreed with Romania, Slovakia and Bulgaria to ban the import of Ukrainian grain to protect their markets if the European Union does not extend the ban that expires on September 15, Hungary’s agriculture minister announced today.

However, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkof told the Bulgarian News Agency before the start of the cabinet meeting that lifting the ban would be desirable because it would lower prices of basic food items.

Let’s be clear – the resumption of imports from Ukraine will reduce commodity prices, reduce inflation, which will help people with low incomes and increase budget revenues from the import-export sectorDenkof is reported to have said.

On Tuesday, a parliamentary committee approved a draft decision to lift the ban on the import of certain Ukrainian products after September 15. The final decision will be taken by the plenary session of the Bulgarian Parliament.

The Slovak government has confirmed that the ban will continue.

The government is prepared, if the (European) Commission does not do so (including extending the ban), to adopt a new import ban, in an extraordinary meeting,” said Agriculture Minister Josef Bires. “You have already seen from the announcements of Poland and Hungary that these countries will implement unilateral restrictions and, in this respect, we must also because the transit (of grain) through Slovakia will increase and this grain may remain in Slovakia“, explained.

Romania’s Ministry of Agriculture said it will take its decisions after the Commission’s announcements. “What is certain is that if the ban is not extended, we have the solutions to protect our farmers,” he said in his statement.

Ukraine is almost entirely dependent on the “Solidarity Corridors”, alternative routes through the EU, for its grain exports, after Russia withdrew in July from the Black Sea agreement, which involved the safe export of food from Ukrainian ports . Russia says it will return to the deal if commitments to export its own grain and fertilizer are implemented.

Istvan Nagy, Hungary’s agriculture minister, said in a video message on Facebook that the new ban would apply to a wider range of Ukrainian products. “We have agreed with our colleagues in Romania, Slovakia and Bulgaria that if no decision is taken from Brussels to extend the moratorium, then we will take action country by country” he said.

In May, the European Commission implemented “temporary, precautionary measures” banning sales of Ukrainian grain to Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia, but transit of agricultural products destined for non-European markets continued, mainly in Africa.

These measures expire on Friday.