Poland closes border for Ukrainian grain, violating EU decision; Hungary makes the same move
Following the European Commission's decision to lift the ban on Ukrainian grain exports to Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, Poland decided to impose a unilateral ban. This violates the EU's internal rules.
According to VOA News, the restrictions imposed by the European Union in May allowed Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia to ban domestic sales of Ukrainian wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower. However, the transit of such cargo for export to other countries was not prohibited.
"We will extend this ban despite their disagreement, despite the disagreement of the European Commission," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said at a rally in the northeastern city of Ełk. "We will do this because we value Polish farmers."
Minister of Economic Development and Technology Waldemar Buda said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had signed the ban. Hungary has imposed a national ban on imports of 24 Ukrainian agricultural products, including grain, vegetables, several meat products and honey, according to a government decree published on Friday.
Slovakia's agriculture minister followed, announcing its own ban on grain. All three bans apply only to domestic imports and do not affect transit to further markets.
EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said that countries should refrain from unilateral measures against Ukrainian grain imports. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would respond "in a civilized manner" if EU members violate the rules.
The EU has created alternative land routes, the so-called "Solidarity Lanes," that Ukraine could use to export its grain and oilseeds. The EU Commission said that the existing measures will expire as originally planned on Friday after Ukraine agreed to introduce any legal measures (including, for example, an export licensing system) within 30 days to avoid grain surges.
In August, about 4 million tons of Ukrainian grain passed through the Solidarity Lanes, of which about 2.7 million tons crossed the Danube. The Commission wants to further increase exports through Romania, but the plan has been complicated by Russian drone attacks on Ukraine's grain infrastructure along the Danube and near the Romanian border.
As OBOZREVATEL previously reported, the European Commission has decided not to extend the ban on Ukrainian grain exports to the EU, which was set to expire on September 15. It should be replaced by restrictions that will control the volume of products exported from Ukraine. It is up to Ukraine to develop such measures for itself.
At the same time, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that the European Commission's decision was an example of the fulfillment of a promise. He also emphasized that Ukraine will respond if Ukraine's neighbors violate EU law.
Ukraine has launched an alternative route for maritime exports from the Black Sea ports. The ships enter the territorial waters of Romania and Bulgaria right away and then move on to their destination.