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Friday, December 1, 2023

Ukrainian crisis. After grain, there will be a problem with soft fruit, poultry and eggs

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More crises are approaching: poultry, egg, soft fruit – said Jacek Piechota, former minister of economy, president of the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, on TVN24. – It was all to be expected. We have reported these problems many times. Farmers signaled them a long time ago – he added.

– Unfortunately, on the part of the government, we lack a partnership conversation that would serve to anticipate actions before problems arise. This is definitely missing – pointed out Piechota.

The former Minister of Economy explained that the Chamber helped Ukrainian entrepreneurs build relationships with recipients around the world. – During the Agro Food Security Forum conference organized in October, attended by representatives of 35 countries, transit through Poland was discussed. But I will not repeat myself, much has already been said on this subject, how little we have done to implement this transit – he said.

No plenipotentiary for the Ukrainian crisis

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– On the third day from the beginning of the aggression, we applied to the prime minister to appoint a government plenipotentiary for the entire Ukrainian crisis. After all, this is a crisis involving all sectors of our life and the competences of all ministers. There is no such government plenipotentiary with broad powers to date. It was only after a few months that the government plenipotentiary for refugees was appointed, and only a few months later the plenipotentiary of the Ministry of Agriculture for Ukrainian affairs was appointed, he pointed out.

Piechota noted that the powers of the minister’s plenipotentiary are not very large.

– We admired Minister Rafał Mładanowicz, who did his best, attended all our conferences, talked to entrepreneurs, visited all border crossings, postulated many, many actions. But what can the minister’s representative do? Go to Minister Kowalczyk and tell him “Mr. Minister, this is the problem in infrastructure, and this is in finance.” After half a year, Minister Mładanowicz resigned, and today he stands among those who protest. To this day, there is no one who would coordinate all issues related to the Ukrainian crisis – explained Piechota.

“It’s scary to me”

The infantry, when asked what he thought about when Deputy Minister of Agriculture Janusz Kowalski appeared on TikTok with chickens, replied that “unfortunately, the policy of substantive discussion and joint search for solutions ended many years ago.”

– Politics today, and this is terrifying to me (…), consists in looking for mistakes on someone else’s side, lack of self-reflection about one’s own mistakes. And unfortunately, Minister Kowalski is a special example of this. Recently, the Polish Economic Institute estimated that thanks to the fact that we are participants in the common EU market, our GDP per capita increased by 31 percent. more than if we were outside the common EU market. So we have the benefits of functioning on the common EU market. But the common EU market also means certain obligations and certain rules, and we are breaking them dramatically today, stressed the former Minister of Economy.

About closing the border immediately

– We agreed to lift the tariffs to help Ukraine. After all, it was done with our consent. Brussels is not some unknown entity that makes decisions for us, against us or against us. We agreed, and today we made a decision that… I have to say I was shocked on Saturday. The decision to close the border implemented with immediate effect is a decision incompatible with EU law on the single common market. The goods of thousands of entrepreneurs were immediately detained at the border, Piechota pointed out.

The president of the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, when asked whether the convoys would “settle the matter of grain”, replied that no.

– In Poland there were huge surpluses of Ukrainian and own grain. Why couldn’t transit be introduced a year ago? the former minister asked rhetorically and pointed out that on October 1, 2022, Ukraine implemented the EU Convention on Transit, allowing for very efficient shipment of goods.

– Customs post at the sender and customs post at the recipient, bypassing all borders. 35 countries have implemented this convention. It is incomprehensible why only now, only under the influence of such protests, it turned out that you can seal that you can escort – he said and stressed that “this problem does not solve”.

– Questions arise, what can be even more. Here is an appeal to the government, listen to farmers, entrepreneurs, producers, not only those who protest but also those who submit various types of proposals – said Piechota.

How to solve the crisis?

The president of the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, when asked what he would do if he were now a minister, replied that he would not allow such a situation in the first place. He reminded that in the public debate there was a proposal to convert the remaining grain into biofuels and use the existing processing plants.

– I would look for solutions to support all investments aimed at increasing storage capacity. In July, a decision was made to launch a grain terminal at the Port of Gdansk – so far nothing has been done. What about the American proposal to build terminals along a wide gauge track? Nothing has been done, the former minister recalled.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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