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PM welcomes €30m EU aid package for Polish farmers

30.03.2023 20:30
The European Union’s executive Commission has approved a EUR 30 million aid package for Polish farmers as compensation for losses caused by an influx of Ukrainian grain, Poland’s prime minister said on Thursday.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.PAP/Marcin Obara

Mateusz Morawiecki announced the fresh EU package in a Facebook post, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The prime minister wrote: “Poland will receive another financial compensation package from the EU, this time for the losses caused by the import of Ukrainian grain.”

He added: “It’s almost EUR 30 million from the EU and the same amount will be paid out from the national budget: around PLN 280 million (EUR 59.9 million) in total.”

Morawiecki noted that he and five other prime ministers had sent a joint letter to the European Commission “demanding immediate action regarding the influx of Ukrainian grain."

He added: “I thank all my European friends for fighting for justice and the protection of our common market.” 

“Today we have results - more funds for Polish farmers,” the prime minister said. 

Earlier in the day, the European Commission said it had approved a EUR 56 million aid package for farmers in countries bordering Ukraine, including EUR 30 million for Poland, the Reuters news agency reported. 

On Wednesday, Poland’s Morawiecki urged the EU to use “all regulatory instruments” to curb the influx of Ukrainian grain into Poland.

EU vows to help farmers from ‘frontline countries’

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen signalled the move last week, telling reporters: “I would like to stress the great success of the Solidarity Lanes in enabling Ukraine to export large quantities of grain and other agricultural products."

She said: "In this context, it is important that we are helping … our farmers in the European Union that have to deal with the market consequences. Because a lot of grain is now coming to the European market, and this has an influence on the prices.”

Von der Leyen added: “And therefore, those front-line countries that are helping the most with the Solidarity Lanes should not suffer … from disadvantages. As a first step, we have mobilised over EUR 56 million from the Emergency Agricultural Reserve.”

Von der Leyen also said that this was “not enough” and that the Commission would “look into increasing this amount for the farmers in the front-line states.”

Meanwhile, European Commission spokeswoman Miriam Garcia Ferrer said on Thursday that Brussels “does not rule out” restoring tariffs for Ukrainian imports, after assessing their impact on the EU’s common market, the PAP news agency reported.

Poland to push for more aid from EU: gov’t spokesman  

Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller told reporters on Thursday that Poland was “pleased” with the new EUR 30 million aid package for its farmers. 

He added, however, that the government regarded this assistance as “insufficient” and would press for further financial compensation from the EU for the losses caused by the influx of Ukrainian grain.   

The EU’s Agriculture Commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski, who is Polish, welcomed “the first package of support measure worth €56.3 million for Bulgarian, Polish and Romanian farmers that can be coupled with national financing up to 100 percent.”

He added in a tweet: “The second package is underway.”

That package will comprise EUR 75 million in aid for five countries, including around EUR 30 million for Poland, according to public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency. 

On Wednesday, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Henryk Kowalczyk told farmers that some PLN 1.1 billion (EUR 230 million) had been pledged so far to help compensate Polish farmers for their losses caused by the influx of Ukrainian grain, including a PLN 600 million (EUR 128 million) aid programme approved by the European Commission on Monday.

Kowalczyk proposed 11 measures to stabilise Poland’s grain market following the recent inflow of produce from Ukraine, including asking the EU to restore tariffs for Ukrainian grain, according to officials.  

Poland grapples with influx of Ukrainian grain

Ukraine, which is one of the world’s largest grain exporters, had its Black Sea ports blocked following the Russian invasion in February last year and it found alternative shipping routes through Poland and Romania, the Reuters news agency reported. 

Poland has admitted some 2.8 million tonnes of grain from Ukraine, according to the IAR news agency.

Due to logistics bottlenecks, large quantities of Ukrainian grain, which is cheaper than that produced in the EU, remain in central European countries, hurting prices and sales of local farmers, Reuters reported.

Monika Piątkowska, an agricultural industry expert, told PAP on Thursday: “The Polish market currently suffers from a large surplus of grain, caused by the record-breaking 2022 harvest and last year’s stockpiles.”

She added: “The crisis on the agricultural market is significantly exacerbated by Ukrainian grain, especially in eastern Poland.”

Thursday is day 400 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters, farmer.plEuropean Commission