Close the border with Ukraine 100% and you will be left without a job: Polish minister addresses protesters

Roman KostyuchenkoNews
Polish minister warns border blockers of consequences
Polish minister warns border blockers of consequences

Polish Minister of Agriculture Czeslaw Sekerski warned farmers protesting on the border with Ukraine that the complete closure of the border (not only of car traffic but also of railways and access to seaports) planned for February 20 could backfire on them. In particular, this could result in a halt to Polish exports to Ukraine and, consequently, the loss of many jobs.

In addition, he recognized that the protesters were causing trouble for Polish society. He urged them to minimize this, Polsat News reports.

At the same time, Sekerski said that "regulation of trade in agricultural products with Ukraine is one of the priorities of the ministry." The ban on imports of a number of products to Poland remains in effect. These are:

  • cereals;
  • rapeseed and sunflower seeds;
  • wheat flour;
  • bran;
  • oilcake.

"Sekerski said that his ministry wants to develop a bilateral agreement with Ukraine that would expand the scope of market protection. It would include other sensitive products, such as sugar, poultry, eggs, some fruits, honey, apple juice, and oils," the statement said.

In addition, he emphasized, his ministry also intends to hold talks with the protesters. "We would like our joint work to result in an agreement on solving current problems and developing a program for the future," the minister said.

Poland is dissatisfied with trade with Ukraine

At the same time, Sekerski said that in 2022, Poland recorded a trade surplus with Ukraine. It amounted to 3.5 million euros.

However, in 2023, the country exported 1.033 billion euros worth of agricultural products to Ukraine, while importing 1.69 billion euros. "So, there is a deficit of 656 million euros," he said.

Why Poles are blocking the border

The main reason for farmers' protests across Europe is dissatisfaction with the Green Deal. These are the rules that oblige all farmers in the EU to gradually abandon pesticides and fertilizers that are harmful to the environment, as well as to comply with strict requirements and gradually switch to the production of "healthy" products.

However, the Poles decided to deal with the supply from Ukraine at the same time. That is why they plan to end the protests against the Green Deal inside Poland on February 19 and to close the borders with Ukraine on February 20. At the border with Ukraine, they will demand "an end to uncontrolled imports of agricultural products from Ukraine" and the abolition of the Green Deal.

Of course, Ukraine has nothing to do with the Green Deal in the EU (after membership, these rules will apply to us). The claims about "uncontrolled exports of agricultural products" are also questionable. Most grain transits through Poland, Iryna Kosse, an infrastructure expert, explained to OBOZ.UA.

The Poles are unhappy that Ukrainian grain is much cheaper than Polish grain. Farmers in Ukraine do not have to comply with strict "green" standards, work on large areas, with more fertile land, and also pay salaries that are several times lower than in Poland. All this seems to make Polish products more expensive: they cannot compete with Ukraine.

"Ukrainian farmers will always find understanding with Polish farmers, it's Polish lobbyists who can't reach an agreement with Ukrainian farmers," says Mykola Stryzhak, president of the Association of Farmers and Private Landowners of Ukraine. According to him, the "corridor" for Ukrainian agricultural products through Poland existed primarily to enable Ukrainian farmers to export goods to countries that need them, together with their Polish counterparts.

The representative of Ukrainian farmers partially agrees with his Polish colleagues. Indeed, cheap Ukrainian grain, whose price is already approaching the cost of production, is more attractive to buyers. But even if there were abuses, they certainly cannot affect the situation with Polish prices.

The information about "uncontrolled imports" is a manipulation used by Polish politicians. Like any other country, Poland has its own groups of Eurosceptics who would be happy to lead protests against the EU's "green rules," and there are those who have ties to Russia and are ready to destabilize relations with Ukraine.

As previously reported by OBOZ.UA, blocking transport – in particular, buses with passengers – at the Polish border will have severe socio-political consequences for both countries. Moreover, it is a direct threat to the security of the defending country.

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