Business news from Ukraine

EC demands Poland to lift embargo on Ukrainian agricultural products

4 January , 2024  

The Polish government has received a letter from the European Commission demanding to lift the indefinite embargo on duty-free imports of certain agricultural goods to Poland, Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Sekerski said at a press conference after meeting with representatives of the All-Polish Association of Farmers’ Unions and Agricultural Organizations on Thursday.

“There is a growing danger of a return to the grain crisis of a year ago. The European Commission is demanding that Poland lift the embargo on agricultural products from Ukraine, and farmers are concerned that Ukrainian grain will be only a transit in the new year,” quoted him as saying.

The Polish publication noted that after the new year, farmers’ fears about the inflow of agri-food products from Ukraine will not disappear. Gustaw Endrejek, President of the Lublin Chamber of Agriculture, received signals that Poland resumed imports of four types of grain from Ukraine on January 1.

“We don’t know what will happen at the border, as there is contradictory information about the transportation of grain to Poland as duty-free imports,” the newspaper quoted Gustaw Endrejek as saying.

At a press conference, Minister Sekerski assured the public that the resolution on the unilateral closure of the Polish-Ukrainian border is in effect despite Brussels’ demand to resume imports.

“This embargo is indefinite. We believe we already have evidence of this, because we have received a letter from the European Commission demanding the embargo be lifted,” Sekerski explained.

As reported, on Thursday, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Poland on Twitter quoted Minister Sekerski as saying that he supported the strikers’ demands, which, however, should be adapted to the current legislation in Poland, including EU legislation. He noted that legal authorization of all the demands would take time. In any case, the Polish-Ukrainian border will not be opened and the embargo on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products will be indefinite.

On January 4, farmers from the organization “Podkarpackie Deceived Village” resumed protests and blockades of the Medyka-Shehynia border crossing, which were suspended on December 24, 2023. The leader of the organization, Roman Kondruv, told Polish media that the organization had not received written confirmation that its demands would be met, so the protest would continue.

The farmers started their protest on November 23 last year, and stopped it a month later. On the eve of Christmas, Polish Minister of Agriculture Czeslaw Sekerski came to Medyka and assured that the farmers’ demands would be met.

Polish farmers insist on receiving written assurances from the Polish government that their demands will be met. These include the abolition of the agricultural tax increase, easier access to soft loans to support the liquidity of their farms, a 1,000 zloty per hectare corn subsidy, and regulation of the conditions for importing food from Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk emphasized the importance of ending the blockade, especially in the face of escalating bombing and increasingly intense Russian actions. He believes that the arguments will be better heard when Poland is not the country blocking the borders.

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