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21/09/23

Government Ready to Resume Dialogue with Grain Growers at Any Time, PM Denkov Says

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The main problem of agricultural processors, who are preparing to protest in the coming days, already has a solution, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov said at a news briefing at the Council of Ministers here on Sunday. In his words, the solution is in the agreement between the European Commission and Ukraine. Ukraine has made a commitment to the European Commission to introduce temporary restrictions on agricultural exports to each individual EU member state so as not to flood its market with surplus goods, Denkov said.
He said he had personally spoken to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal twice. "We are expected to determine what quantities of which products the Bulgarian market can absorb. We want to make the assessment after talking with agricultural organizations in the relevant subsectors. It was on this topic that first the Agriculture Minister and then I invited the farmers to a meeting, which they refused," he added.
"Instead of responding to the invitations, they issued ultimatums and made threats that actually prevented the problems from being solved. However, we remain with our hand outstretched to the sector and are ready for a conversation as soon as the industry organizations are ready for a constructive dialogue," Denkov stressed.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the government has never refused dialogue with organizations in the agricultural sector. On July 25, there was a meeting with 35 organizations from the livestock sector, which was attended by the Finance Minister and the Agriculture Minister. At that meeting, almost all of those organizations supported the lifting of the ban on imports from Ukraine, he recalled.
Denkov said that the government is ready to resume the dialogue between the two sides at any time.
Products harmful to health are not allowed and will not be allowed to enter Bulgaria. There are and will be strict import inspections, it transpired at the news briefing at the Council of Ministers.
With the lifting of the ban on imports of grain products from Ukraine as of September 18, the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency will carry out additional controls on food of Ukrainian origin imported into Bulgaria.
Denkov said he sees nothing to apologize for to those grain growers who are threatening to protest and block the country despite the billions of annual subsidies and aid with which they have built villas, bought yachts and expensive cars, forgetting the aid from the European Union and the state and refusing dialogue with the government. On Saturday, Denkov said: "In the last couple of days they started behaving like terrorists. They are using false arguments, making demands – “Make this happen immediately, if you don’t we will block the state”. I do not negotiate with terrorists".

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