Espreso. Global

"It will be difficult for Ukraine to negotiate EU integration": diplomat Ohryzko gives reasons 

16 January, 2024 Tuesday

Diplomat Volodymyr Ohryzko believes that Ukraine's agricultural capabilities may become a major problem for integration with the EU

He expressed this opinion on Espreso TV.

"The situation with Ukrainian grain and agricultural products is exclusively the history of the EU. And the fact that 5 eastern EU countries are asking for the return of duties on Ukrainian grain is the first signal of how difficult it will be for us to negotiate integration with the EU. Because today only the eastern EU countries have rebelled, and then others will follow. Ukraine can really revolutionize agricultural products on the entire European continent," explained Ohryzko.

According to the diplomat, Ukraine will find opportunities for rapid integration with the EU.

"It will be very difficult for us, and we should prepare for it now. Ukraine already needs to make arguments to the EU that it will not be a disaster for them. However, there are also opportunities to resolve this situation. Many countries, including Poland, have been through a similar path. So we will do the same," he added.

What is known about the ban on grain imports

On April 27, 2023, the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade supported the extension of duty-free trade with Ukraine for one year.

On May 2, the European Commission adopted temporary preventive measures against imports of certain agricultural products from Ukraine to 5 EU countries. Initially, the ban was to be in place until June 5. However, on May 12,  Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary called on the European Commission to extend the embargo on agricultural products from Ukraine until the end of the year.

On the same day, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal noted that the EU's decision would not only help Ukrainian exports and the economy in the context of the blockade of Black Sea ports, but would also contribute to global food security. He called on individual EU member states to refrain from unlawful unilateral restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural products.

On August 24, it was revealed that Hungary requested an extension of the EU's ban on Ukrainian grain imports.

Following this, Poland's Minister of Agriculture, Robert Telus, stated that Poland would also urge the European Union to extend the ban on Ukrainian grain imports. If the EU refuses, Poland would consider implementing its own restrictions. He noted that Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary had similar intentions.

On Friday, September 15, the European Commission decided not to extend the ban on Ukrainian grain exports to the EU: Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia announced that they would extend the embargo unilaterally.

Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister of Economy and Trade Representative, said that negotiations on agriculture had turned into aggression on the part of Poland and hints of influence during Ukraine's accession to the EU.

On September 19, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that Ukraine will file a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization and may retaliate by banning imports of goods from Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia. The next day, Polish President Andrzej Duda criticized Ukraine's actions regarding the Polish embargo on Ukrainian grain and said that he and his government would defend the interests of Polish farmers.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also reacted to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's speech at the UN General Assembly and announced a possible extension of the ban on food exports if Kyiv continues to "escalate the conflict."

On September 20, Ukraine's Ambassador Vasyl Zvarych was summoned to the Polish Foreign Ministry because of Zelenskyy's statements that some countries' blocking of grain exports was in Russia's favor.

Andrzej Duda expresses regret over Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's remarks about agricultural products and the ban on Ukrainian grain imposed by three EU countries.

On September 21, Ukraine's Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Mykola Solskyi and his Polish counterpart Robert Telus agreed to find a common solution to agricultural exports.

On January 2, 2024, Polish Agriculture Minister Czesław Siekierski announced that the country would maintain its ban on Ukrainian grain imports until new rules are developed at the EU level.

On January 16, the agriculture ministers of Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary in a joint letter to the European Commission demanded the imposition of import duties on Ukrainian grain due to alleged unfair competition.

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