EU states respond to Ukrainian grain lawsuit threat – media
Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia are withdrawing from an EU platform coordinating Ukrainian grain imports after Kiev announced that it would sue the three nations for banning the import of Ukrainian produce, Polish media reported on Monday.
The Ukrainian government announced on Monday that it would bring a case against the three countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO), after they announced unilateral bans on the import of Ukrainian seeds and grains. Earlier this summer, the EU allowed five Eastern European nations to block the import of these products for domestic sale, but refused to reauthorize the ban on Friday. As a result, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia imposed bans of their own.
Citing an anonymous source in Brussels, Poland’s PAP news agency said that these countries would withdraw from the EU platform that coordinated the first ban. The decision was made “out of caution and the fact that Ukraine could use information provided within the framework of the coordination platform against these three countries during WTO proceedings,” the source said.
Officials in Budapest, Warsaw, and Bratislava argue that Ukrainian agricultural imports undercut domestic prices and threaten the livelihoods of local farmers. Speaking to Politico on Monday, Ukrainian trade representative Taras Kachka dismissed these concerns, arguing that “prices are global.”
Bulgaria and Romania have not imposed unilateral bans. In response, Bulgarian farmers staged a nationwide protest on Monday, causing blockades at dozens of highways and border crossings. In Bucharest, Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said that he would consider a ban if Ukrainian produce began to flow into the country.
The EU has condemned the unilateral bans, as has Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. The decision by Brussels not to extend the ban “is an example of true unity and trust between Ukraine and the EU. Europe always wins when the rules work and the treaties are fulfilled,” he said on Friday.