The decision of Poland and Hungary to ban imports of Ukrainian grain
RFI – The decision of Poland and Hungary to ban imports of Ukrainian grain, accused of destabilizing agricultural markets, is “unacceptable”, the European Commission decided on Monday (17). The European Union revealed a “study” of a second aid package for farmers in countries affected by the suspension of duties on imports from Ukraine.
In May 2022, the European Union suspended, for a period of one year, tariffs on all products imported from Ukraine and organized itself to allow the export of its grain stocks after blocking sea routes in the Black Sea, since the country’s invasion. from Russia.
Neighboring European countries saw an increase in the arrival of corn, wheat and sunflower seeds from Ukraine, causing saturation of grain stores due to logistical problems and falling domestic prices – leading to protests from farmers and the resignation of the Polish Minister of Agriculture.
Claiming that they want to protect their farmers, Budapest and Warsaw announced on Saturday (15) that they will ban the import of grain and other agricultural products from Ukraine until June 30.
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The European Commission stated that it had “requested additional information from the competent authorities in order to be able to assess these measures”, mainly on their legal basis. “It is important to stress that trade policy is the exclusive competence of the European Union, and that unilateral measures are unacceptable,” insisted the European administration’s spokeswoman, Miriam Garcia-Ferrer.
She added, “In these difficult times, it is necessary to coordinate and harmonize all decisions within the European Union.”
In Poland, the ban applies to the import of cereals, sugar, meat, fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs and other food products. For Hungary, it’s cereals, oilseeds, and various other products.
In 2022, the value of European imports of Ukrainian agricultural products increased by 88% (to €13 billion), mainly driven by grains, which saw its imports increase tenfold (by volume) from Ukrainian wheat, according to EU data.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Agrarian Policy “regretted” Warsaw’s decision on Saturday. He compared it with that “Polish farmers are in a difficult situation, but Ukrainian farmers are in the worst situation.”
On March 20, Brussels offered €56.3 million from the EU’s Agricultural Crisis Reserve to support precarious farmers in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. But at the end of March, five countries (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria) requested additional assistance “to support agricultural producers who have incurred losses.”
“We are considering a second package [de ajuda]under discussion,” confirmed Miriam García-Ferrer, noting that Brussels “was examining the influence (…) on the front-line countries.”
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