Several EU Countries Ban Ukrainian Grain Imports, Including Poland And Hungary

The European Union's executive arm condemned the unilateral ban imposed by Poland and Hungary on Sunday on grain imports from Ukraine to protect their local agricultural sectors from an influx of supplies.

Several EU Countries Ban Ukrainian Grain Imports, Including Poland And Hungary

Meanwhile, several countries in Central and Eastern Europe said they were considering similar actions. In February last year, the Russian invasion of Ukraine blocked some Black Sea ports.

The logistical bottlenecks in the EU prevented Ukrainian grain from reaching Central European countries, where it was cheaper than European grain.

Agricultural producers say this has resulted in lower prices and sales, and several governments have called on the European Union to intervene. In response, Warsaw and Budapest took their own decisions over the weekend after turning to the European Union for help.

Several EU Countries Ban Ukrainian Grain Imports, Including Poland And Hungary

Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia proposed bloc-wide import tariffs to formulate a solution. Law and Justice (PIS) have created a political issue from the oversupply in an election year.

There was opposition to it in rural areas where PiS has high support. An emailed statement from an EU spokesperson noted that Poland and Hungary announced bans on grain imports from Ukraine.

The statement said there is no excuse for unilateral action in this context, adding that taking all trade policy decisions in coordination and alignment within the EU during such challenging times is crucial.

In addition to banning grains from Poland, it prohibited them from transiting. Officials say the measure aims to restrict grain transport to the Polish market. At Monday’s talks in Warsaw, Kyiv hoped to reopen food and grain transit via Poland as a first step towards ending import bans.

According to Mykola Solsky, Ukrainian Agriculture Minister, the first step should be opening transit because it is a significant issue and should be done unconditionally before discussing other matters.

Several EU Countries Ban Ukrainian Grain Imports, Including Poland And Hungary

As many as 10% of Ukraine’s food exports cross the Polish border, Solsky said in comments published by the Agriculture Ministry on Telegram. 6% of Ukraine’s farm exports go to Hungary, he said, adding that food transit through Hungary and Slovakia was unaffected. Additionally, there will be talks on Thursday in Slovakia and on Wednesday in Romania.

EU Joint Action ‘Unavoidable’

In response to massive grain imports from Ukraine, Hungary will use all possible measures to protect its farmers. Regardless of the national level, Nagy said there was a need for a global solution.

He emphasizes the necessity of joint European action and EU measures. In a statement, Polish government spokesperson Piotr Muller said the Polish government had constantly contacted the European Commission about the ban.

Concerning issues such as gay rights, freedom of the press, and judicial independence, Poland and Hungary have long-running conflicts with Brussels.

His ministry said Solsky discussed unilateral decisions with Hungarian counterpart Istvan Nagy on Sunday. Adding to the source’s report, the two agreed to speak again soon.

Earlier today, the ministry said the Polish ban contradicted bilateral export agreements. It called for talks to resolve the issue. During the week, the EU member countries envoys in Brussels will discuss Poland and Hungary’s moves, according to a senior EU official.

An anonymous senior EU official said grain stayed in the EU due to low global prices and demand. The official said, We expect Poland and Hungary to provide explanations.

Several EU Countries Ban Ukrainian Grain Imports, Including Poland And Hungary

The European Commission will also respond, adding that the issue was discussed during the last EU national leaders’ summit. There is a problem, and the Commission is expected to offer a solution to it. We will see how we can work with it in the coming weeks.

A government spokesperson said Monday that Slovakia planned to stop importing grains from Ukraine temporarily. Waldemar Buda wrote on Twitter that the ban includes transit through Poland.

Agricultural Minister Robert Telus said on Sunday that the ban was needed so the EU could see that products from Ukraine need to be sold deep into Europe rather than staying in Poland.

According to the finance ministry, a ban on foreign exchange is due to last until June 30. According to the July agreement between Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, and the United Nations, the country’s Black Sea ports will be unblocked to export more agricultural goods, particularly grain.

It expires on May 18, and Moscow has indicated it will only be renewed if the West removes obstacles to Russian grain exports. He was quoted by the Polish radio station RMF as saying that talks with Ukraine could at least ease tensions with farmers.

We want to make sure that no grain transport that is to be exported goes into the Polish market. Jablonski explained that the final goal is not to keep the import ban in place forever but to ensure Ukrainian grains are shipped to their destinations.

Several EU Countries Ban Ukrainian Grain Imports, Including Poland And Hungary

As the EU’s prime ministers pointed out in a letter last month, there has been an unprecedented increase in shipments of grains, oilseeds, eggs, poultry and sugar. There should be consideration of tariffs on Ukrainian agricultural imports.

The states have instead called for a mechanism to buy grain at low prices. There has yet to be a response to Jablonski’s letter. It is estimated that 3 million tons of grain leave Ukraine every month via the Black Sea grain corridor, while only 200,000 tons travel through Polish territory to reach European ports.

Several agricultural products, including grain, vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, meat and more, cross the Polish border every month, according to Solsky over the weekend.

Nandana Valsan

Nandana Valsan is a Journalist/Writer by profession and an 'India Book of Records holder from Kochi, Kerala. She is pursuing MBA and specializes in Journalism and Mass Communication. She’s best known for News Writings for both small and large Web News Media, Online Publications, Freelance writing, and so on. ‘True Love: A Fantasy Bond’ is her first published write-up as a co-author and 'Paradesi Synagogue: History, Tradition & Antiquity' is her second successful write-up in a book as a co-author in the National Record Anthology. She has won Millenia 15 Most Deserving Youth Award 2022 in the category of Writer. A lot of milestones are waiting for her to achieve. Being a Writer, her passion for helping readers in all aspects of today's digital era flows through in the expert industry coverage she provides.

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