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EU Commission Condemns Poland and Hungary for Banning Ukrainian Grain Imports

The European Commission has declared unilateral trade actions by EU member states unacceptable after Poland and Hungary announced bans on Ukrainian grain and food imports to protect their local agricultural sectors.

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Logistical Bottlenecks Affect Central European Farmers

Following Russia's invasion that blocked some Black Sea ports, large amounts of less expensive Ukrainian grain remained in Central European countries, creating logistical bottlenecks and negatively impacting prices and sales for local farmers.

Political Strain for Poland's Ruling Party

The situation has caused political issues for Poland's nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, particularly in an election year, as it has upset their traditionally strong rural support base.

EU Calls for Coordination in Trade Decisions

In response to Poland and Hungary's announcements, the European Commission emphasized the importance of coordinating and aligning all trade decisions within the EU, as trade policy falls under the EU's exclusive competence.

Poland Defends Ban Using Security Clause

Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller claimed the ban was possible due to a security clause, and the government was in constant contact with the European Commission.

Bulgaria Contemplates Ukrainian Grain Ban

Bulgaria's Agriculture Minister Yavor Gechev revealed that the country is also considering a ban on Ukrainian grain imports, according to local agency BTA.

Polish Ban Includes Transit of Products

Poland's ban also applies to the transit of products through the country, with talks planned with Ukraine to establish a system preventing goods from entering the local market.

Ukraine Calls for Talks on Polish Ban

Ukraine's Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food stated that the Polish ban contradicts existing bilateral export agreements, urging for talks to resolve the issue.

Ban Duration and Black Sea Ports Situation

The ban is set to last until June 30, with Ukrainian Black Sea ports expected to reopen in line with a multi-nation agreement. However, Moscow indicated that the agreement might only be extended if the West removes Russian grain and fertilizer export barriers.

Ukrainian Grain Exports and Impact on Poland

Ukraine's farm minister Mykola Solsky reported that between 500,000 to 700,000 tonnes of agricultural products, including grain, cross the Polish border monthly, highlighting the significance of this trade relationship.