Brussels, 18 April 2023
As an example of yet another clear disregard of EU rules, the Polish PiS government has introduced an illegal ban on imports of Ukrainian agricultural and food products to the territory of Poland.
For the Socialists and Democrats, this move is not only a direct breach of the rules guarding EU’s common commercial policy, but also a serious blow to the EU-Ukraine partnership, straining the economy of war-torn Ukraine even further.
Over the last year, some eastern EU member states, predominantly Poland and Romania have witnessed an increase of inflows of agricultural products from Ukraine as a result of the trade preferences put in place by the EU in June 2022 and the Solidarity Lanes established to substitute closed Black Sea trade routes. Both initiatives proved to be highly successful in supporting Ukraine’s war-struck economy by providing much needed foreign revenue and alleviating problems with wheat shortages in world markets.
Marek Belka, S&D vice-President responsible for trade and shadow rapporteur for trade relations with Ukraine, said:
“The newly introduced illegal ban is a hysterical reaction of the Polish government, who faces strong protests from Polish wheat producers dissatisfied with its performance in the agricultural sector.
“The Polish PiS government has a great talent for blaming others, especially the EU, for its incompetence. Since last year, Polish government officials, aware of the potential side effects of the trade preferences on the Polish wheat market, did absolutely nothing. They did not improve transit efficiency of Ukrainian agricultural products, nor did they initiate any support programs for Polish farmers. When the situation got dire, it did not even occur to them to motion for the reintroduction of tariffs and quotas under EU safeguard clauses. Instead, we observe yet another festival of finger-pointing at the EU and unilateral measures in breach of EU law. This is unacceptable.
“It is not the first time the PiS government has shown a total disregard for EU rules. However, this time it is Ukraine that gets hit the most. Only 10 days after a historical visit of President Zelensky to Warsaw, Polish authorities show that nothing is more sacred than keeping Jarosław Kaczyński in power.”
Inma Rodríguez-Piñero, S&D MEP and coordinator in the European Parliament’s international trade committee, added:
“The inflows of Ukrainian agricultural products has caused some market disturbances in some member states. But instead of tackling them in coordination and with the help of EU institutions and other member states, the PiS government has decided once again to breach EU rules and has illegally stopped trade flows to which it agreed almost a year earlier.
“I am worried that this decision plays very well into the hands of Russia’s Vladimir Putin. The import ban strikes right at the heart of the Solidarity Lanes project, which created important alternatives for the Black Sea trade shipping of grain. Now, Russia would only need to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative to once again choke Ukraine’s grain exports. This is an unacceptable scenario from a geopolitical point of view and Polish authorities should know better than to waste the EU’s efforts in supporting Ukraine.”
Source – S&D Group Press Release – Email
EPP Group: Blocking Ukrainian grain is helping Russia
Brussels, 18 April 2023
Don’t do anything that weakens Ukraine. Make sure that Ukrainian grain reaches Africa. Don’t take unilateral action infringing EU law. These are the messages of the EPP Group to the Polish, Hungarian and Slovakian Governments who announced a unilateral block of Ukrainian grain from entering the European Union.
“European governments must not act in detriment to solidarity for Ukraine during the war. Before unilaterally deciding to block export ways for Ukrainian goods, we need to have detailed information on why this grain or other products were not transited further out of Europe and what is the exact amount of the Ukrainian grain or other products stocked in European warehouses. We also need to know what the requests are of the protesting farmers in the Member States. Any unilateral action by Member States will only be a move in favour of Russia”, said Sandra Kalniete MEP, who is responsible for the European Parliament’s position on the temporary trade liberalisation of Ukrainian products.
“The problems of farmers in Ukraine’s neighbouring countries are real and the Commissioner for agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, needs to provide concrete solutions for the problems. He needs to see that the neighbours get help. The so-called solidarity lanes were established to help transport Ukrainian food into third countries when Russian aggression closed the Ukrainian harbours. We ask the governments of the Member States to properly implement these lanes so that the transports end up where they should. The grain is meant to go to destinations outside the EU market. We must avoid market disturbances inside Europe. Blocking transports won’t help either Ukraine or those outside Europe who are suffering most from rising food prices”, said Herbert Dorfmann MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokesman on agriculture.
Source – EPP Group
EU-Abgeordneter Lins (CDU) zur Blockade ukrainischer Getreideexporte
Zur aktuellen Debatte um ukrainische Getreideexporte erklärt Norbert Lins (CDU), Vorsitzender des Ausschusses für Landwirtschaft und ländliche Entwicklung des Europaparlaments:
“Die Getreidepreise an der europäischen Grenze zur Ukraine sind im Fallen. Die Landwirte dort sind dringend auf Hilfe angewiesen. Nun haben einzelne Mitgliedstaaten einseitige Maßnahmen ergriffen, um das Problem zu lösen, aber das kann nicht im gemeinsamen europäischen Interesse sein.
Die Europäische Kommission muss jetzt dringend handeln. Agrarkommissar Wojciechowski muss sich für die Interessen der Landwirte in den an die Ukraine angrenzenden Ländern einsetzen. Die bisher versprochenen, vergleichsweise recht geringen Millionenbeträge werden dafür nicht ausreichen, und die Agrarreserve ist nicht das richtige Instrument, um das Problem zu lösen.
Die sogenannten “solidarity lanes” müssen auf die nächste Stufe gehoben werden. Es bedarf einer besseren Koordinierung zwischen der Kommission, den an die Ukraine angrenzenden Mitgliedstaaten und allen beteiligten Wirtschaftsakteuren. Wir müssen den Weizen aus der Ukraine herausholen und ihn in die bedürftigen Staaten, vor allem in Afrika, transportieren. Wir müssen Marktstörungen innerhalb Europas vermeiden. Die zuständigen Abteilungen der Europäischen Kommission müssen ihre Erfahrungen in einer Task Force oder dem Posten eines Sonderbeauftragten bündeln, der sich ausschließlich mit den ukrainischen Getreideexporten befasst. Die Europäische Kommission muss mit den Vereinten Nationen zusammenarbeiten und Weizen kaufen und sicherstellen, dass er nach Afrika und in den Nahen Osten transportiert wird.”
Quelle: CDU im EU Parliament (via E-Mail)