In a bid to safeguard the interests of its agricultural sector, the Polish government has officially called upon the European Commission (EC) to extend the ban on imports of Ukrainian grain beyond its scheduled expiration on September 15, 2023.
In a statement released after a government meeting on Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s Office warned that should the EC not opt for an extension, Poland would implement its own national ban on Ukrainian grain imports.
Poland’s request encompasses an extension of the ban on various grain types, including wheat, corn, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds sourced from Ukraine. Additionally, the Polish government has urged the EC to swiftly initiate measures that support local producers within Poland and across the European Union (EU), ensuring their ability to operate effectively and maintain stability.
The roots of this issue trace back to April 28, when the European Commission reached an agreement with Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia to impose restrictions on the import of Ukrainian agri-food products. On May 2, the EC officially announced the implementation of a temporary ban on Ukrainian wheat, corn, rapeseed, and sunflower seed imports. This ban was recently extended until September 15.
The European Commission’s decision was prompted by the unilateral restrictions imposed by Poland and other EU member states that share a border with Ukraine. These restrictions, according to the EC, were in violation of EU treaties.
In their statement, the Polish government emphasized their commitment to resolving this issue with Ukraine. However, they maintained that until an agreement is reached between the two countries regarding agriculture, the national ban imposed by Poland will remain in force.
The Prime Minister’s Office stressed that Poland seeks to prevent market destabilization caused by Ukrainian grain imports while highlighting their ongoing support for their neighboring country. Nevertheless, they underscored their duty to protect Polish farmers.
Under the current regulations, Ukrainian grain can still transit through the territories of the five frontline EU countries: Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia, en route to other parts of the world.
Ongoing discussions regarding the future of this ban are currently taking place in Brussels as Poland awaits a response from the European Commission.