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They do not intend to meet halfway: Polish minister openly supported the new blockade of the Ukrainian border

Kseniya KapustynskaNews
Another strike on the Polish-Ukrainian border
Another strike on the Polish-Ukrainian border

The new Polish government has not solved the problems with the access of Ukrainian products to the Polish market. The country's Minister of Agriculture, Czeslaw Sekerski, generally supported the new border blockade, and his deputy, Michal Kolodziejczak, is pushing for the introduction of strict restrictions on agricultural products from Ukraine.

According to Sekerski, farmers' protests against the influx of goods from Ukraine are "justified." "Farmers have legitimate fears, expectations, and demands to limit the excessive inflow of goods from Ukraine and other non-European markets to the EU, in particular to Poland. We will negotiate to the end because the truth is on the side of farmers and the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, which shares a similar position with farmers," Sekerski was quoted as saying by Polskie Radio.

According to the minister, Poland and other countries bordering Ukraine allegedly "suffered the most from the EU's decision to liberalize trade, to open the EU to the inflow of goods from Ukraine, without duties, without quotas." Sekerski believes that in certain industries a complete blockade of imports will be needed, as in the case of grain. Similar bans are possible for sugar and poultry.

"This may be necessary for sugar and poultry. We are submitting proposals to the European Commission, but we also want to establish this in our relations with Ukraine," the Polish minister said.

At the same time, Polish Deputy Minister of Agriculture Michal Kolodziejczak has already spoken about some similar proposals. In particular:

  • introduction of an additional 8% value-added tax (VAT) for oil from Ukraine;
  • limiting or completely banning sugar supplies from Ukraine to Poland.

"Introduce a VAT of at least 8% on oil that can come from Ukraine to Poland... Why should it be at the 0% rate, which is intended for Polish producers and Polish consumers?" Kolodziejczak said. As for sugar, commenting on the farmers' strike, the deputy minister supported the demands of the farmers and stressed that "the border with Ukraine should be very tightly closed."

As a reminder, on February 9, the protests of Polish farmers caused traffic to be hampered at the Medyka-Shehyni, Hrebenne-Rava-Ruska, and Dorohusk-Yagodyn checkpoints. The strike is expected to last 30 days.

In general, Poland has been banning imports of several Ukrainian agricultural products since the spring of 2023. The European Commission's decision in September of the same year to lift restrictions on the import of Ukrainian products did not affect the position of the Poles and a number of other neighbors of Ukraine, although it contradicts EU trade rules. Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary have imposed unilateral restrictions on Ukrainian imports.

At the same time, the European Commission has recently made an official proposal to extend the free trade regime with Ukraine without duties and quotas for another year, until June 2025. However, the proposal contains a strict reservation – the need to protect the European agricultural market from Ukrainian goods.

As reported by OBOZ.UA, earlier, European Commissioner from Poland Janusz Wojciechowski, who is responsible for agriculture in the European Commission, threatened to disrupt the extension of EU trade preferences for Ukraine. Among other things, the European Commissioner demanded a ban on imports of Ukrainian grain, as well as quotas on sugar and poultry.

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