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Polish minister warns of unilateral restrictions if EU doesn't extend ban on Ukrainian grain

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 25, 2023 11:13 PM 2 min read
A pile of maize grains is seen on the pier at the Izmail Sea Port, Odesa region, on July 22, 2023. (STRINGER / AFP via Getty Images)
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Slovakia, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Hungary support the extension of the EU ban on Ukrainian grain imports until the end of 2023, Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus said on Aug. 25, as cited by Reuters.

"I want to say that even if it fails, some countries will introduce their own restrictions. Our declaration is clear," Telus told a press conference.

According to the official, the five countries' agriculture ministers also back subsidizing the transit of Ukrainian grain and want other products to be added to the list of prohibited imports, such as raspberries in the case of Poland.

Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Poland would not open its borders to Ukrainian grain imports if the EU ban is not extended.

On May 2, the European Commission imposed a month-long ban on wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds to "alleviate logistical bottlenecks" related to these goods in the five countries. The ban was extended on June 5, set to expire by Sep. 15.

In exchange, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia pledged to cancel their unilateral restrictions on these and other products from Ukraine. They are still obligated to transport these products elsewhere.

Cheap Ukrainian grain has been flooding the EU market since the beginning of the invasion, helped by the bloc waiving customs duties and import quotas to keep Ukraine's agricultural sector running.

Low-price grain prices prove too tempting for local buyers and traders, undercutting local producers.

Ukraine’s grain overload sours country’s relationship with key allies
Negotiations over a European import ban on Ukrainian grain between the European Commission and its eastern flank members were stalled as of April 23. Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria asked to extend protection measures after the EU’s one-year decision to abolish customs duties, whil…
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