Fact Check: EU Did NOT Order President Iohannis To Approve Import Of Ukrainian Grains To Romania

Fact Check

  • de: Jurnaliștii Lead Stories
Fact Check: EU Did NOT Order President Iohannis To Approve Import Of Ukrainian Grains To Romania No Such Order

Was Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis, ordered by Ursula von der Leyen and Volodymyr Zelensky, to approve the import of Ukrainian grains onto Romanian territory? No, that's not true: The three met in New York, at the UN General Assembly, to discuss the transit of Ukrainian grains through Romania. The President does not have the executive power to instate such measures, the government does.

The claim originated from a video (archived here) published on TikTok by user @iondragoshoreabarezerva on September 22, 2023. The claim, translated from Romanian by Lead Stories staff, says:

Iohannis was ordered by his overlords, von der Leyen and Zelensky, to approve the import of Ukrainian grains (not its transit) into Romania.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-09-25 at 12.34.21.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Sep 25 09:32:53 2023 UTC)

In May, the EU placed restrictions on grain imports from Ukraine to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, and sought to protect their farmers who held the imports responsible for a drop in prices on local markets. On September 16th, the European Commission ended the ban, after the existing measures expired.

After restrictions had been lifted, Romania's Agriculture Minister, Florin Barbu, announced that the ban on Ukrainian grain exports into Romania had been extended for 30 days, after negotiations with his Ukrainian counterpart. Romania will work with Ukraine over the next 30 days on an import-export licensing system, meant to help protect Romanian farmers, Barbu stated. Romanian Prime Minister, Marcel Ciolacu, also assured Romanian farmers that there would be no export requests on Romanian territory from Ukraine's side, as part of a "gentleman's agreement" between him and his counterpart, Ukrainian Prime Minister, Denys Shmyhal.

The EU Commission stated that it took the decision to lift the ban after Kyiv decided to implement measures such as an export licensing system within 30 days to avoid "grain surges". The EU also declared that Ukraine will be implementing measures to control the export of maize, wheat, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds to avoid upsetting markets in its EU neighbors. According to Politico, despite Kyiv's assurance that its grain exports wouldn't adversely affect EU farmers, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia independently prolonged their import ban on Ukrainian grain on September 16, 2023.

President Iohannis met with Ursula von der Leyen, Volodymir Zelenski, and Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mariya Gabriel, in New York during the UN General Assembly. They discussed regional assistance to Ukraine and the transit of Ukrainian grains through Romania. However, the power lies with the government on such measures, not with the President. The TikTok video provides no evidence that such an order was given to Iohannis during the meeting.

  Lead Stories Staff

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