Row over Ukrainian grain: three EU states want to uphold restrictions despite Brussels’ decision

The Polish news agency PAP reported that Ukraine’s neighbouring EU member states have rejected a plan prepared by Ukraine to restrict agricultural exports.

As conceived by the European Commission, the program would have replaced unilateral restrictions on Ukrainian imports.

According to PAP, under Ukraine’s proposal, the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine will independently decide on granting grain export permits to the EU, including the five eastern member states, even if they oppose such permits.

At the same time, Ukraine proposes to hold consultations with EU countries and the European Commission on export permits. However, “regardless of the results of the consultations, the final decision will remain with Kyiv,” PAP writes.

At a meeting in Brussels, Poland’s permanent representative to the EU, Andrzej Sadoś, criticised the Ukrainian proposal, which, according to Warsaw, does not address the issue of controlling and limiting the inflow of Ukrainian grain.

Earlier, the European Commission announced that it would not extend restrictions on imports of agricultural products from Ukraine after September 15. Still, Ukraine agreed to take measures to limit imports on its part.

Nevertheless, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia decided to impose unilateral restrictions, with Warsaw stating that their limitations would be in place indefinitely.

At the same time, most EU member states supported the decision proposed by the European Commission.

On September 18, Ukraine applied for consultations with Slovakia, Poland and Hungary within the World Trade Organisation following these countries’ decision to unilaterally restrict Ukrainian imports. Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Yulia Svyrydenko announced this.

The Polish and Slovak governments said they would not lift their unilateral restrictions on agricultural imports from Ukraine after Ukraine initiated a WTO dispute.

Slovak Agriculture Minister Josef Biresh said that Bratislava is ready to reconsider the ban if Kyiv’s proposals effectively control exports to his country after testing.

Poland, Slovakia and Hungary decided to suspend their participation in the Coordination Platform on Imports of Ukrainian Agricultural Products following Kyiv’s decision to file a complaint against these countries with the World Trade Organisation.

At the same time, Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said he would ask the ministers of agriculture and economy to issue a joint decree extending the ban on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products for 30 days.

Ciolacu said he expects Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal to submit proposals on grain export licensing, which he will discuss.

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