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Germany has led condemnation of Poland, Hungary and Slovakia’s unilateral curbs on grain imports from Ukraine, accusing the international locations of cherry-picking EU insurance policies and placing their very own pursuits over Ukraine.
The remarks by Cem Ozdemir, the German meals and agriculture minister, underscored the broader ramifications of the Ukrainian grain dispute, which has posed the largest problem in many years to Brussels’ authority over EU commerce.
The European Fee lifted a ban on imports of 4 Ukrainian grains, together with wheat and maize, on Friday on the situation that Kyiv agreed to stop surges of grain into neighbouring EU international locations.
Within the hours that adopted Poland, Slovakia and Hungary utilized their very own curbs, flouting EU guidelines to be able to defend farmers from an alleged glut of Ukrainian merchandise. Poland and Slovakia are each holding elections inside weeks.
Ozdemir mentioned the fee had made the “proper choice” to carry the ban and accused the japanese European international locations of “part-time solidarity” with Ukraine. “When it fits you, you might be in solidarity and when it doesn’t go well with you, you aren’t,” he mentioned.
France and Spain additionally criticised the transfer as in breach of core EU guidelines, which has granted the fee oversight of widespread commerce coverage because the Nineteen Seventies.
Marc Fesneau, the French agricultural minister, mentioned the unilateral measures “name into query the one market and the widespread market very deeply”. Luis Planas, Spain’s agriculture minister, steered the measures had been illegal however mentioned it was “for the fee to evaluate”.
Ukraine has mentioned it can take Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the WTO and will retaliate with its personal commerce curbs towards merchandise from the three international locations.
The unilateral bans put the fee in a clumsy place as it’s accountable for performing because the bloc’s commerce negotiator. If Ukraine pursues its WTO motion, Brussels may face having to defend the three international locations towards Kyiv.
The fee has thus far declined to elaborate on whether or not it will take formal authorized motion towards the three renegade international locations, insisting it was looking for a compromise. Poland led a bunch that first launched the import bans earlier this 12 months, which the fee later adopted as an EU-wide measure to take care of a brief surge in provide.
A fee spokesperson mentioned that Brussels was “analysing the measures” being adopted and was targeted “on making the system work”.
Brussels lifted tariffs on imports of Ukrainian grain shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion as a method to enhance Ukraine’s financial system. It has additionally poured thousands and thousands of euros into bettering infrastructure alongside rail and river corridors to try to get grain to ports in different EU international locations after Moscow pulled out of a scheme to permit exports by way of the Black Sea.
Hungary on Friday mentioned it will proceed to curb Ukrainian grain imports and added dozens of meals teams together with frozen and contemporary beef, pork, lamb, goat, honey and wine.
“If low-cost Ukrainian imports flood the markets of neighbouring EU member states . . . we are able to’t watch this idly,” Hungarian farm minister István Nagy mentioned on Fb on Saturday.
Poland has additionally added sure seeds and Ukrainian flour to the 4 grains embargoed by the unique EU ban.
The problem has grow to be a very heated subject in Poland forward of the nationwide elections in October. Polish minister of agriculture Robert Telus mentioned in an interview with PAP information company final week that Ukraine shouldn’t be allowed to accede to the bloc until it met sure circumstances for agricultural exports.