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Poland, frontline countries oppose Ukraine’s grain export proposal

Andrzej Sados said the Ukrainian proposal "neither solves the problem of control nor limits the inflow of Ukrainian grain."
Stephanie Lecocq/PAP/EPA

Poland’s Ambassador to the EU has said that Poland and EU countries neighbouring Ukraine do not accept a Ukrainian proposal envisaging grain export licensing as in their opinion it does not solve the problem caused by the inflow of Ukrainian grain, an EU source has told PAP.

Ambassador Andrzej Sados, who attended a meeting in Brussels on Monday, had criticised the Ukrainian proposal as, in Poland’s opinion, “it neither solves the problem of control nor limits the inflow of Ukrainian grain,” an EU source reported to PAP on Monday.

“Ukraine presented to the European Commission on Monday a proposal regarding the entrance of its grain to the EU,” the EU source said.

“The proposal envisages a system of grain export licences, which are to be finally decided upon by Kyiv, even if EU member countries do not approve them,” the source explained. 

PAP was told by the source that, in accordance with the proposal, decisions regarding grain exports to the EU, including the frontline countries, would be taken by the Ukrainian Economy Ministry even if EU countries were against such a permit.

Ukrainian farmers have relied on grain exports through neighbouring countries since the war began as the routes through Black Sea ports were impossible to be used, especially after Russia had withdrawn from a grain deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.  

Under Kyiv’s proposal Ukraine is to consult grain export licences with EU member countries and the European Commission but it is Kiev which is to make a final decision irrespective of the result of these consultations. 

In May, the EC said it would apply a temporary ban on imports of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds from Ukraine to Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. The ban was extended in early June to September 15, although Poland urged the EC to extend the embargo on the Ukraine grain imports beyond this date.

On September 15, the EC said that an EU embargo on Ukrainian grain entering five member states – Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia – would not be extended as “the market distortions in the five frontline countries have disappeared.

Reacting to the news, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said later in the day that Poland would extend this ban “despite their disagreement, despite the European Commission’s disagreement.” Slovakia and Hungary also announced restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports. 

Ukraine announced plans on Monday to sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia in the World Trade Organization (WTO). 

Following the announcement made by Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia stated that the three countries would not take part in the Ukrainian grain platform in Brussels, the source told PAP.

“Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have decided to withdraw from the platform due to the litigation prudence and the possibility of Ukraine using information obtained during its meetings in proceedings before the WTO,” the EU source said.

Apart from the three countries, platform meetings in Brussels were also attended by Romania, Bulgaria, the EC and Ukraine.

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