On 4 April 2024, in Brussels, the Delegation of the State of Lower Saxony to the European Union hosted a professional event “Ukrainian agriculture – potential for sustainable development in the context of modern European integration challenges” with the assistance of the German-Ukrainian Agricultural Policy Dialogue project.

The participants of the event discussed the current challenges and state of Ukraine’s integration process into the European Union, bringing Ukraine’s agricultural and trade policy in line with the requirements of the European Union, ways to support Ukraine’s European integration during russia's war against Ukraine, the role and responsibilities of professional agricultural associations in the European Union and Ukraine, etc.

It was also stated that the European perspective of Ukraine's further development is one of the country's political priorities today. In this context, the further development of agricultural policy should be focused on European standards and requirements.

The Ukrainian delegation was represented by Oleksandr Starynets, the Head of the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Agrarian and Land Policy, who noted that compliance by Ukrainian farmers with European requirements for agriculture is a higher level of quality and safety for people and the environment and a priority on Ukraine's path to EU membership.

To date, the implementation of EU legislation has enabled many Ukrainian companies operating in the agricultural sector to obtain European certification.

Despite the war, since Ukraine became a candidate country, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has adopted 6 comprehensive European integration laws prepared by the Committee on Agrarian and Land Policy. In particular, in the field of protection of rights to plant varieties, seed and seedling production, materials and objects in contact with food, geographical indications of alcoholic beverages, pesticides and agrochemicals, food security and livestock development. This was assessed accordingly in the European Commission’s Report on Ukraine’s application for membership in the European Union, and later in the European Commission’s Report on Ukraine in 2023.

He also added that the Committee is preparing for the second reading of draft laws on plant protection and viticulture products, as well as draft laws on hops and on the traceability of aquatic bioresources.

At the same time, Oleksandr Starynets noted that the most pressing issue is the problem of logistics of export and transit of Ukrainian agricultural products.

Special attention was also paid to the presentation by Martin Banse, the Director of the Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute (Federal Research Institute for Rural Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries) on the current challenges of agricultural business and trade (results of agricultural market modelling).

Martin Banse, in particular, reported on the development of Ukrainian exports since the signing of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between the EU and Ukraine in 2014, the state and possible scenarios of Ukraine's market and trade relations due to russia's war against Ukraine, the approximation of national standards to the requirements and norms of the European Union by industry, etc.

He also presented 4 models of access to the EU market for Ukrainian agricultural products, in particular: in case of full liberalisation between the EU and Ukraine (free trade), in case of full liberalisation and extension of the EU external protection to Ukraine (common market), in case of taking into account the population decline of -26% in the baseline study of demographic trends and free trade, in case of taking into account the level of production in Ukraine in 2022 in the baseline study and free trade.

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