The end of EU’s Ukraine grain ban has added another layer of conflict in ‘powder-keg’ Europe. Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have enacted their own bans in a bid to protect their farmers from Kiev’s cheap grain.
While other countries, such as Romania and Croatia, may implement bans of their own, in Bulgaria, where the prohibition was rescinded, farmers are painted for war against the Ukrainian produce ‘invasion’.
Ukraine reacted poorly to the unilateral bans, and sought arbitration from the World Trade Organization.
Poland, who is one of Kiev’s main military allies in the war against Russia, was angered by the move, with officials saying that Ukraine ‘must be doing so great in the war against Russia, if they are willing to initiate a trade war against its neighbors’.
President Duda has also bitterly said that Zelensky ‘should remember that it receives help from Poland’.
“While Poland remains a staunch supporter of Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion, the two countries have been at odds over Poland’s recent extension of a ban on imports of Ukrainian grains, which Warsaw says is needed to protect its farmers.
‘It would be good for Ukraine to remember that it receives help from us and to remember that we are also a transit country to Ukraine’, Andrzej Duda told reporters in New York following an address to the United Nations General Assembly.”
The ban was originally introduced by the EU after the countries saw a flood of cheap imports from Ukraine as it struggled to ship grain to the outside world.
“While Ukraine appealed on Tuesday for a ‘constructive dialogue’, a World Trade Organization spokesperson confirmed that Kyiv had taken the first step in a trade dispute by filing a complaint to the global trade body.”
Duda said that Poland will explain the situation before the WTO tribunal. He reminded that the ban regarded imports but not ‘transit of Ukrainian grain’.
“‘There are business circles that have interests in Ukraine and would like to sell grain as quickly as possible at the lowest possible cost. We have to defend ourselves against it’, he said.”
WATCH Duda talk about the grain ban:
Polish President Duda:
“I would compare it to something like a drowning person… A drowning person is extremely dangerous because he can pull you to the depths… He can simply drown the rescuer.”
Meanwhile, farmers across Bulgaria are protesting, after the government lifted a ban on food products from Ukraine. They argue that the move will cause an influx of cheap grain and drive down prices for local growers.
“Hundreds of farmers around the country converged in their tractors, many of them waving national flags and honking horns as they blockaded main roads and disrupted traffic to express their anger.”
Bulgarian lawmakers decided to allow imports from Ukraine to resume, arguing that the ban had deprived the government of tax revenue and led to higher food prices.
“Bulgaria’s National Association of Grain Producers said in a statement Sunday before the protests that farmers are facing ‘unprecedented difficulties’ and called for a ban on a litany of food products from Ukraine. These include sunflower, wheat, corn and rapeseed, as well as crude oil, meat, fruits and vegetables, milk, honey and dairy products.
Ventsislav Mitkov, chairman of the United Farmers National Association in Bulgaria, said at a protest in the western town of Pernik, about 30 kilometers (18.5 miles) from the capital, Sofia, that they want to ban ‘absolutely everything’.
‘Stop imports from Ukraine. We mean wheat, sunflower, canola, all cereals, honey’, he said. ‘We want increased control and immediate payment of the European measures’.”
On Croatia, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has said that his country ‘will not import Ukrainian grain’ and did not even rule out an unilateral ban on such imports.
“‘Croatia’s stance and desire is that we are a transit country, not a country receiving enormous amounts of Ukrainian grain that is cheaper than ours, which would mean our farmers are in trouble’, Croatian national broadcaster HINA quoted Plenković as saying.
[…] When asked whether Croatia would implement a similar ban, Plenković would not say, but reiterated that Croatian ports were currently facilitating the passage of Ukrainian grain to third countries, according to reports.
aaIt is not known how much grain has been exported via Croatian ports, but the route is “already popular,” Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said earlier this month.”
Read more about it: