Czech Agriculture Minister Marek Výborný has announced plans to advocate for a ban on Russian and Belarusian grain imports into the European Union during this week's European Council

summit. The proposal is set to be a focal point of discussions as EU member states convene on Thursday and Friday, with agriculture emerging as a key agenda item.

Výborný emphasized the incompatibility of Russian and Belarusian commodities within Europe, stating, "Russian or Belarusian commodities have no place in Europe. I don’t see any reason why Russian grain should be in Europe." He asserted that supporting aggressors through grain purchases is untenable and pledged to champion this stance within the EU.

The Czech Republic intends to push for cereals and oilseeds to be included on the sanctions list, preventing their importation into Europe. The draft conclusions of the European Council underscore the importance of a robust and sustainable agricultural sector for food security, addressing concerns raised by farmers regarding surplus grain from Ukraine and Russia and the consequent drop in prices.

Apart from the European Council meeting, Výborný will also address the issue during the upcoming Agriculture and Fisheries Council scheduled for March 26. He expressed confidence that a ban on Russian grain imports would not result in a significant increase in food prices, citing surplus harvests both domestically and globally.

The European Commission is evaluating the potential implementation of restrictions on agricultural imports from Russia to the EU, with President Ursula von der Leyen engaging in discussions on the matter. Similar sentiments have been echoed by Polish Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, who emphasized the need to respond when food is used as a weapon. Recent actions by Latvia to unilaterally ban Russian agricultural imports have sparked further discussions on potential measures across the EU, with MEPs from various political parties supporting the idea during recent debates in Strasbourg. Photo by David Sedlecký, Wikimedia commons.