Poland Threatens It Might Introduce Ban On Ukrainian Grain

By Gerardo Fortuna and Natasha Foote

(EurActiv) — Poland is ready to introduce its personal unilateral ban on agricultural merchandise imported from Ukraine if the EU decides towards extending the protecting measures already in place, the Polish agricultural minister informed EURACTIV in an unique interview. 

“On 15 April, we launched a ban and, if want be, we must do this [again],” Robert Telus informed EURACTIV on the sidelines of a gathering of EU agriculture ministers on Tuesday (25 July).

His feedback got here on the again of heated discussions over whether or not to increase the present short-term ban on choose Ukrainian agricultural items, put in place to appease frontline nations, who unilaterally imposed their very own ban again in April after an inflow of Ukrainian agricultural merchandise put strain on their farmers.

The present settlement entails commerce restrictions on 4 commodities – wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds – originating in Ukraine and can come to an finish on 15 September.

However a coalition of frontline member states – together with Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia – have joined forces to push for this to be prolonged till the top of the yr. 

“I hope that this shall be prolonged, but when it’s not, Poland will nonetheless need to sort out the difficulty, and now we have demonstrated we are able to do this,” Telus added. 

Final resort

Telus’ feedback on the sidelines of the EU Agrifish Council echo that of his Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who just lately informed a gathering of agriculture ministers from 5 Jap EU nations in Warsaw that his nation was ready to unilaterally block imports from Ukraine.

However Telus doesn’t take the transfer frivolously as it might be in direct violation of EU regulation, on condition that commerce is an EU competence.

“We don’t need from the EU a one-party answer, this isn’t going to help European solidarity,” he stated, including that the goal is to “develop European solidarity” as a substitute.

The minister additionally clarified this may solely be a ban on imports into Poland, explaining that the nation will proceed to help the transit of Ukrainian agricultural items through the nation.

“What we’ve been doing is just not towards anyone, it’s for our farmers,” he stated, including that in the long run, the minister needs to “develop instruments that can be utilized by different nations for years forward of us”. 

“If we develop the instruments, they are often helpful afterward for all of the member states and in addition for Ukraine,” he stated.

Scope widened?

Requested whether or not he felt there was sufficient political help for an extension of the ban, the minister stated he undoubtedly feels “the help of the 5 borderline nations”.

“However in the present day within the dialogue now we have additionally had fairly many constructive opinions from the [other] ministers. At the very least they offered their understanding for the issues now we have to unravel,” he added.

Nevertheless, an EU supply informed EURACTIV that six member states – Denmark, Germany, France, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Latvia – opposed the transfer.

There are additionally options that some nations want to see the scope of the ban prolonged to probably embrace different agricultural merchandise sooner or later to assist adapt to altering market circumstances.

Ukraine’s exports for each poultry and smooth fruit are additionally worrying European farmers, the EU’s Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski stated on Tuesday (25 July), hinting that extending the safeguard measures to those merchandise may very well be an possibility to take a look at.

Nevertheless, for minister Telus, there could be no want to incorporate new commodities within the EU restrictions not less than “till the top of the yr.”

Tough transit

Nevertheless, the minister highlighted quite a few considerations over transit, declaring that the portions exiting Ukraine through Poland have surged. 

“Only for comparability, in February, the transit through Poland was 14,000 tonnes, in March it was 120,000 and when the Fee launched the restricted EU ban in June, we had 226,000 tonnes.”  

Nevertheless, as issues presently stand, transit routes are “inadequate”, in line with the minister.

“We need to help transit, that’s why now we have this proposal to develop the instruments and requested to make use of the seaports within the Baltic Sea, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia,” he stated, calling for extra help from the EU to realize this. 

In the meantime, Telus confused the necessity for extra monetary help for Polish farmers. 

“If we converse in regards to the monetary help, it’s clearly not sufficient in comparison with the prices burdening our farmers,” he stated, declaring that the Polish state has been subsidising its farmers.

“If we examine the help from the EU funds, it was €70-80 million and now we have spent all collectively to help Polish farmers one billion zloty [€230 million],” he stated.

His phrases are unlikely to go down effectively with a few of his counterparts, a number of of whom took the chance to criticise the specter of unilateral motion, together with France’s Marc Fesneau, who⁩ identified earlier than the assembly that border nations have already had a number of help.