Groups representing food producers in different sectors across the EU have said that a decision to set new limits on grain imports from Ukraine “fails to address farmers’ and manufacturers’ concerns”.

In January, the European Commission proposed extending the suspension of import duties and quotas – known as autonomous trade measures (ATMs) – on all imports from Ukraine to the EU for another year.

This included an “emergency brake” to protect poultry, eggs, and sugar if imports from Ukraine reached specific thresholds.

Negotiators from the Council of the EU and the European Parliament decided this week to “beef up” the “safeguard mechanism” to protect EU farmers by also proposing limits on imports of oats, maize, groats and honey from Ukraine.

The EU Council said that this will “take into account any adverse impact on the market of one or several member states, rather than just on the EU market as a whole, as is the case now”.

However, six representative groups have claimed that these safeguard mechanisms are not strong enough.

Those six groups are Copa-Cogeca (farmers and agricultural co-operatives); AVEC (poultry producers); CEFS (sugar producers); CEPM (maize producers); CIBE (beet growers); and EUWEP (poultry, eggs and game businesses).

In a joint statement, these groups said: “Despite legitimate concerns and protests, the decisions makers…have proceeded by ignoring the key concerns our producers.”

They criticised the lack of inclusion of wheat among the products for which the new safeguard mechanisms will apply.

“In the negotiations, the key amendments of the European Parliament…have not been pushed forward, leading to a weak compromise,” they said.

“Our organisations understand the political sensitivity of this agreement, as well as the need to support Ukraine, but it is unfortunate that the small but important adjustments which would have delivered an effective solution for European producers were not considered,” the joint statement said.

The groups warned that the “burden” on the EU farming sector will persist “and so will their discontent”.

“The situation is so critical in Brussels that the council…has opted to delay the vote on the compromise reached until next week.”

The European Parliament’s international trade committee has already passed the new ATM regulations in a process the six producer groups claimed was “very untransparent”.

They warned: “Such a lack of listening to producers in this moment may result in less acceptance in future negotiations on Ukrainian integration into the EU.”

“It is important to note that this agreement and these renewed ATMs will most likely be the basis for further re-negotiation of the association agreement with Ukraine, setting the already too-high baseline for gaining the acceptance of EU producers and manufacturers,” they added.

“In this context, our organisations cannot support the agreement reached…and call on member states and the council to seriously reflect on the signal they would be sending to European farmers and manufacturers,” the joint statement said.