EUROPE- Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary have affirmed their intent to uphold the ban on grain imports from Ukraine, despite the European Commission (EC) discontinuing its endorsement of the trade restrictions on September 15.
This ban originated in May when five EU member states, with the support of the European Commission, imposed a ban on grain and certain food imports from Ukraine to protect domestic farmers’ prices.
The ban was later extended in June and since July, Ukraine has been increasingly dependent on alternative EU export routes, known as Solidarity Lanes, for its grain exports.
This is because Russia has terminated the agreement that allowed Ukrainian grains to be shipped through its Black Sea ports.
Brussels, upon ceasing its support for the ban, stated that it had determined that “the market distortions in the five member states bordering Ukraine have disappeared.”
The EC highlighted that Ukraine had agreed to implement necessary measures, such as an export licensing system, within 30 days to prevent sudden surges in grain imports into the EU.
Until then, Ukraine is required to implement effective measures to regulate the export of specific goods in order to prevent market distortions in neighboring member states.
However, the nations opposing the cessation of the ban argue that the ban remains crucial to safeguard their farmers from the influx of lower-priced Ukrainian grain, while the EC contends that this measure is now unnecessary.
Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia are expected to face challenging negotiations with the EU after independently choosing to maintain the previous trade restrictions.
Moreover, Ukraine is considering taking legal action to challenge the ban through the World Trade Organization over the bans, aiming to establish the illegality of these actions.
“We will extend this ban despite their disagreement, despite the EU Commission’s disagreement,” said Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki. “We will do it because it is in the interest of the Polish farmer.”
Meanwhile, Romania, a country that previously implemented a ban, will wait for Ukraine’s proposed plan before deciding on any additional actions.
Bulgaria, another country that previously imposed a ban, has voted to resume imports of Ukrainian grain. The country also plans to seek compensation for its farmers.
German authorities support the EC’s decision to lift the restrictions, emphasizing the importance of assisting Ukraine in the face of ongoing challenges.