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Import of grain from Ukraine. What next with the EU ban? Minister of Agriculture Robert Telus comments

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There will be no import of grain from Ukraine to Poland after September 15, assured Robert Telus, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, on Wednesday. He said that “some countries are also thinking about it very hard.” For now, it is not known whether the European Commission will extend the temporary ban on imports of Ukrainian grain. Poland failed to build a broad coalition for this demand. It is supported by four countries – Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria.

A ban on the import of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower from Ukraine to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia was introduced by the European Commission in early May. The ban is to remain in force until September 15. – No one has ever given us a substantive explanation why it is September 15 – said Robert Telus, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, during Wednesday’s press conference.

As he noted, the College of Commissioners is to meet on Wednesday. – I hope that some directions will be known today, maybe not decisions, but some directions in this matter – said Minister Telus.

In his opinion, not extending the ban will be a “political, not substantive” decision. – If European Union makes a political decision not to extend the ban until the end of the year, we know how it is done. We showed it on April 15 that for us the Polish farmer is the most important, Poland’s interest is the most important and there will certainly be no grain imports (from Ukraine – editor) after September 15 to Poland. I declare this very firmly – assured Minister Telus.

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– From unofficial information, I know that some countries are also considering it very seriously – added the head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Five EU countries are in favor of extending the ban – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. Robert Telus said that the five will meet with the French Minister of Agriculture soon. – I had a very good conversation with the French minister, who also talks very strongly about the fact that we need to build a tool for the future, that it is not just for this moment – said the Minister of Agriculture.

Poland is at the head of the coalition of frontline countries

Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria form a coalition of five frontline countries. Poland – according to information provided by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – is the informal leader of the coalition.

These are countries that have previously jointly sought Brussels’ intervention in the inflow of Ukrainian grain to the EU. At the end of March this year. representatives of the authorities of Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia – Mateusz MorawieckiViktor Orban, Nicolae Ciuca, Rumen Radev and Eduard Heger – wrote a letter to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

It ended with the introduction at the beginning of May this year. temporary ban on the import of four grains from Ukraine to the above-mentioned countries: wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds. Initially, the ban lasted until June 5, and then was extended until September 15. Transit of grain through the territories of the so-called frontline countries is allowed.

Now the coalition of frontline countries is demanding another extension of the ban, at least until the end of 2023. A common position on this matter was adopted at the meeting on July 19 this year. The above position was then presented by the Minister of Agriculture, Robert Telus, in a conversation with the Vice-President of the European Commission, Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis. A few days later, a meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH) was also held in Brussels.

European Commission, as we could read in the announcement of the Ministry of Agriculture, “then declared to monitor the situation in the context of import bans, because the decision on this matter should take into account the situation in September, due to its more complete picture.” Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Robert Telus and the ministers of Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary met in Brussels with the Polish EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski.

Further demands

At the end of August, further demands from the frontline countries appeared. Last month, a teleconference was held between five ministers of agriculture from Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary. The ministers confirmed the already known common position on the need to extend the ban on grain imports from Ukraine until the end of the year.

Moreover, the ministers also adopted a common request for the European Commission to allocate funds for the construction of infrastructure to help transport grain from Ukraine. Additionally, it was agreed that the list of agricultural products from Ukraine that cannot be placed on the market of the five countries should be flexible. The idea is to expand the list, e.g. to include raspberries or honey.

According to the assurances of the Polish Ministry of Agriculture, the common positions developed were to be submitted to the European Commission as soon as possible.

“Numerous bilateral talks”

On Tuesday, the informal Council of Ministers for Agriculture of the European Union held a meeting in Cordoba, Spain. According to information from the Polish ministry, Minister Telus was to conduct “numerous bilateral talks”, including: with a counterpart from France.

EU Observer reported at the end of August this year that the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, supported the extension of the temporary ban on imports of Ukrainian grain until the end of 2023. However, there is still no formal decision on this matter and it is not known whether the ban will ultimately be extended.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on Wednesday on the website informal meeting of the EU Agriculture Council.

“We talked about further actions aimed at securing the Polish agricultural market after September 15. A number of talks were held on this topic, including before the College of European Commissioners with Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski,” said the head of government.

In July, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that if the EC does not extend the ban, Poland will close the border to these goods.

Main photo source: PAP/Marian Zubrzycki



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