Espreso. Global

Poland's EU Commissioner warns of new crisis over imports of Ukrainian agricultural products

8 January, 2024 Monday
17:26

Poland's European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, wrote a letter to the European Commission warning of a possible new crisis due to excessive imports of agricultural products from Ukraine

RMF 24 writes about this.

This letter is Wojciechowski's position on the draft new European Commission regulation on the extension of trade preferences for Ukraine.

RMF FM has unofficially learned that the Polish European Commissioner will not support the regulations if his proposals are not taken into account.

In a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Vice-President for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis, he called for quantitative restrictions on sugar and poultry. In his opinion, their imports are growing rapidly and threaten to destabilize the EU market.

"Extension of trade privileges for Ukraine under the EU regulation, which expires this year, without protective provisions and quantitative restrictions threatens to create a new crisis of excess imported agricultural products from Ukraine," said Janusz Wojciechowski.

He proposes to add to the new regulation protective provisions similar to those that the EU has already applied to imports of Ukrainian rapeseed, corn, sunflower, and wheat.

The commissioner also writes that the EU should rethink the concept of its assistance, which implies unlimited openness. He blames the current situation on Russia, which is pushing Ukraine out of its traditional markets in Asia and Africa by blocking the Black Sea.

At the same time, Janusz Wojciechowski emphasized his proposal to support Ukrainian transit to EU seaports. From there, Ukrainian grain could be transported to the markets of Africa and Asia.

Some details regarding ban on Ukraine grain imports

On February 2, Polish farmers began blocking checkpoints on the border with Ukraine. They were outraged that the uncontrolled inflow of Ukrainian grain to Poland had caused prices for their products to plummet. Local farmers argue that Ukrainian grain should have been transported through Poland only to ports, but it ended up on the Polish market. 

On March 29, Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki said that Poland promised to introduce rules that would limit the inflow of Ukrainian grain to the country, explaining that it could destabilize the import market.

On April 7, Ukraine agreed to stop exporting grain to Poland, and on April 15, the country approved a ban on the import of Ukrainian grain and other food products to Poland. Later, Poland approved a ban on the import of Ukrainian grain and other food products to Poland. The government emphasized that this decision does not change the country's position on support and friendship with Ukraine.

In Romania, farmers demanded a ban on grain imports and transit from Ukraine, threatening a nationwide protest. Meanwhile, Hungary was the second country to temporarily ban imports of grain and oilseeds from Ukraine, following Poland. On April 16, media reported that Bulgaria was also considering refusing to import Ukrainian grain. On the same day, a spokesman for the European Commission said that unilateral actions by EU member states on trade were unacceptable.

On April 17, Slovakia became the third EU country to ban imports of Ukrainian grain and other agricultural products.

On April 18, it became known that Poland would receive EUR 30 million in aid from the EU amid the crisis with Ukrainian grain. After that, Warsaw decided to unblock the transit of Ukrainian agricultural products to European ports on April 21.

On April 29, the European Commission agreed with Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia on the transit of food produced in Ukraine through their territory.

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. Later that month, it was reported that four EU countries would insist on extending grain import restrictions from Ukraine until October. At the same time, Hungary wanted to extend the restrictions until 2024.  

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

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

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