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Germany has led condemnation of Poland, Hungary and Slovakia’s unilateral curbs on grain imports from Ukraine, accusing the nations 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 most important problem in a long time 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 nations.
Within the hours that adopted Poland, Slovakia and Hungary utilized their very own curbs, flouting EU guidelines as a way 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 elevate the ban and accused the jap European nations of “part-time solidarity” with Ukraine. “When it fits you, you might be in solidarity and when it doesn’t swimsuit 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 for the reason that 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, instructed the measures had been illegal however mentioned it was “for the fee to evaluate”.
Ukraine has mentioned it’s going to take Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the WTO and will retaliate with its personal commerce curbs in opposition to merchandise from the three nations.
The unilateral bans put the fee in a clumsy place as it’s answerable for performing because the bloc’s commerce negotiator. If Ukraine pursues its WTO motion, Brussels might face having to defend the three nations in opposition to Kyiv.
The fee has to date declined to elaborate on whether or not it could take formal authorized motion in opposition to the three renegade nations, insisting it was looking for a compromise. Poland led a gaggle that first launched the import bans earlier this 12 months, which the fee later adopted as an EU-wide measure to cope with a brief surge in provide.
A fee spokesperson mentioned that Brussels was “analysing the measures” being adopted and was centered “on making the system work”.
Brussels lifted tariffs on imports of Ukrainian grain shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion as a solution to increase Ukraine’s economic system. It has additionally poured tens of millions of euros into enhancing infrastructure alongside rail and river corridors to try to get grain to ports in different EU nations after Moscow pulled out of a scheme to permit exports by way of the Black Sea.
Hungary on Friday mentioned it could proceed to curb Ukrainian grain imports and added dozens of meals teams together with frozen and recent beef, pork, lamb, goat, honey and wine.
“If low cost Ukrainian imports flood the markets of neighbouring EU member states . . . we will’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 except it met sure circumstances for agricultural exports.