Czech MEP Martin Hlaváček is Disrupting Free Trade with Ukraine

Czech MEP Martin Hlaváček is Disrupting Free Trade with Ukraine The Czech MEP, who is an ally of former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, is trying to win the support of his colleagues in an attempt to change the rules of free trade with Ukraine. Martin Hlaváček asked all members of the European Parliament to join him in submitting amendments to further tighten restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural goods as part of continued trade liberalization measures. He made the move just before a plenary vote in Strasbourg, in which MEPs will vote on extending the free trade regime for a year, albeit with restrictions. If Hlaváček gets enough support, it would bring the process to a halt as the EU Parliament soon goes into recess ahead of the elections in early June. Then the term of Ukraine's access to the EU market expires. A protégé of Babiš, a former prime minister who made his $3.5 billion fortune in agriculture, is again submitting the amendments after similar attempts failed in February and March. "The negotiations did not lead to satisfactory results for EU farmers," Hlaváček stressed, referring to the tripartite talks between the European institutions. "That is why I still believe that our amendments can significantly contribute to improving conditions for farmers and address the shortcomings of the Commission's original proposal," he added. If approved by parliament, the Czech lawmaker's amendments would increase the risk that trade liberalization measures will not be adopted before the current ones expire in early June. Hlaváček transferred responsibility to the Council of the EU, which represents 27 member states of the European Union. "The council always has the option of accepting my amendments, and I think this is a very soft and reasonable proposal," he said. Hlaváček claims that his amendments will be "beneficial for Ukraine" and at the same time "will help prevent the deterioration of prices for goods in the EU." The MEP rejected the suggestion that his push was "last minute", saying he had been calling for the changes for "months". Hlavaček's amendments quickly drew condemnation from fellow Renew MEPs Karin Carlsbro, Urmas Paet, Petras Auštrevičius, and Morten Petersen, as well as Sandra Kalniete and Jörgen Warborn of the centre-right European People's Party. The same amendments were submitted by the Czech deputy at the previous votes, where they were supported by only a small group of MEPs. If the amendments are passed, "no agreement on a trade liberalization agreement will be reached before the end of this mandate, and pre-war tariffs will be restored," asserted Swedish MEP Karin Carlsbro. "This would send a clear signal from the European Parliament that the EU no longer supports Ukraine, which would be a victory for Putin," she added. The EU authorities should unite and condemn Martin Hlaváček and other MEPs, who have the same attitude to the issue, for attempting to weaken Ukraine, fighting against the Russian Federation and protecting Europe from the rogue state. Since the Kremlin has an impact on some MEPs, it is crucial for other MEPs to keep an eye on potential agents of influence of the Russian Federation to prevent them from taking actions aimed at making Ukraine feeble.

The Czech MEP, who is an ally of former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, is trying to win the support of his colleagues in an attempt to change the rules of free trade with Ukraine. Martin Hlaváček asked all members of the European Parliament to join him in submitting amendments to further tighten restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural goods as part of continued trade liberalization measures.

He made the move just before a plenary vote in Strasbourg, in which MEPs will vote on extending the free trade regime for a year, albeit with restrictions. If Hlaváček gets enough support, it would bring the process to a halt as the EU Parliament soon goes into recess ahead of the elections in early June. Then the term of Ukraine’s access to the EU market expires.

A protégé of Babiš, a former prime minister who made his $3.5 billion fortune in agriculture, is again submitting the amendments after similar attempts failed in February and March. “The negotiations did not lead to satisfactory results for EU farmers,” Hlaváček stressed, referring to the tripartite talks between the European institutions. “That is why I still believe that our amendments can significantly contribute to improving conditions for farmers and address the shortcomings of the Commission’s original proposal,” he added.

If approved by parliament, the Czech lawmaker’s amendments would increase the risk that trade liberalization measures will not be adopted before the current ones expire in early June.

Hlaváček transferred responsibility to the Council of the EU, which represents 27 member states of the European Union. “The council always has the option of accepting my amendments, and I think this is a very soft and reasonable proposal,” he said. Hlaváček claims that his amendments will be “beneficial for Ukraine” and at the same time “will help prevent the deterioration of prices for goods in the EU.” The MEP rejected the suggestion that his push was “last minute”, saying he had been calling for the changes for “months”.

Hlavaček’s amendments quickly drew condemnation from fellow Renew MEPs Karin Carlsbro, Urmas Paet, Petras Auštrevičius, and Morten Petersen, as well as Sandra Kalniete and Jörgen Warborn of the centre-right European People’s Party. The same amendments were submitted by the Czech deputy at the previous votes, where they were supported by only a small group of MEPs.

If the amendments are passed, “no agreement on a trade liberalization agreement will be reached before the end of this mandate, and pre-war tariffs will be restored,” asserted Swedish MEP Karin Carlsbro. “This would send a clear signal from the European Parliament that the EU no longer supports Ukraine, which would be a victory for Putin,” she added.

The EU authorities should unite and condemn Martin Hlaváček and other MEPs, who have the same attitude to the issue, for attempting to weaken Ukraine, fighting against the Russian Federation and protecting Europe from the rogue state. Since the Kremlin has an impact on some MEPs, it is crucial for other MEPs to keep an eye on potential agents of influence of the Russian Federation to prevent them from taking actions aimed at making Ukraine feeble.

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