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Poland seeks extension of EU ban on Ukrainian grain: agriculture minister

06.06.2023 07:30
Poland is in talks with the European Union’s executive Commission about a further extension of the ban on domestic sales of Ukrainian grain in five countries including Poland, beyond September 15, the Polish agriculture minister has said.
Polands Agriculture Minister Robert Telus speaks to reporters in Warsaw on Monday, June 5, 2023.
Poland's Agriculture Minister Robert Telus speaks to reporters in Warsaw on Monday, June 5, 2023.PAP/Piotr Nowak

Robert Telus made the statement at a news conference in Warsaw on Monday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The agriculture minister said: “The government has been informed that the European Commission will prolong the ban on domestic sales of four types of grain from Ukraine in neighbouring countries including Poland.”

Telus added: “This is good news, even though the extension will be until September 15, while Poland had sought an extension until the end of the year. But this gives us time for talks and negotiations on a further prolongation of the ban.”

EU extends restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports until Sept. 15

The Commission announced on Tuesday that it was extending until September 15 an arrangement allowing five of Ukraine’s EU neighbours: Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, to ban domestic sales of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds, the Reuters news agency reported.

Under the arrangement, Ukrainian grain can transit these countries for export elsewhere, including to other EU countries, according to officials. 

Brussels had reached agreement on these measures with the five member states on April 28 and introduced them on May 2, effective until June 5, the PAP news agency reported.

They replaced national bans on Ukrainian grain, according to officials.

Now the arrangement has been extended until September 15, the Commission said.

Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia saw a huge increase in imports from Ukraine after the EU liberalised all imports from the war-torn country in June last year, Reuters reported.

Originally introduced for a year, the liberalisation was recently extended until June 2024, according to officials. 

Ukraine has experienced difficulties exporting through its Black Sea ports because of the Russian invasion, increasing its reliance on routes through the eastern EU, Reuters said.

Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia had said that cheaper Ukrainian grain was making domestic production unprofitable, according to news outlets.

The EU restrictions are designed to ease excess supply of grain in these five countries, Reuters reported.

Poland’s Telus said on Monday that his country was in talks with Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia about “making the restrictions on Ukrainian imports flexible.”

He added: “We would like some products, such as soft fruit, to be allowed to be included or excluded from the list. We’ll be discussing this with the European Commission.”

EU approves EUR 346 million in Polish state aid to farmers 

The Polish agriculture minister also told reporters that on Monday Brussels had approved EUR 346 million in state aid to Polish farmers. 

The measure is designed “to support agricultural producers in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine,in the form of “subsidised interest rates on loans,” according to officials.     

The European Commission also greenlighted state payments to Polish farmers selling wheat and agreed an extension of state aid to pig farmers from areas affected by African swine fever (ASF), Telus announced, as quoted by the PAP news agency.

Tuesday is day 468 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, Reuters, Euronews, europa.ec.eu