Polish Government Promises to Further Block Agriculture Imports from Ukraine

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Polish Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Czeslaw Siekierski has signed an agreement with farmers under which the embargo on agricultural products from Ukraine will remain in force. One of the agreement clauses stipulates that the agriculture minister will ask Prime Minister Donald Tusk to stop the transit of embargoed agricultural products from Ukraine through Polish territory. According to the document, the parties also declared that trade relations between the two countries should be settled, in particular regarding market access for such products as grains, rape, corn, sugar, poultry meat, eggs, soft fruit and apples. In addition, the document contains a paragraph on subsidies for barley and rye. The subsidies will be developed at the 2023 level and will apply to grain sold between 1 January and 30 May this year. Another paragraph would maintain the agricultural tax at the 2023 level. In addition, the document outlines further efforts to amend the provisions of the EU Green Deal. The agreement emphasizes that the reason for the current situation in agriculture is primarily Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as the EU’s unconditional consent to unlimited imports of agricultural goods from Ukraine, which was supported by the previous government. Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk expressed hope that the Polish and Ukrainian sides would reach an agreement on agricultural issues before the government meeting in Warsaw, which is scheduled for 28 March. The day before, the European Parliament and the EU Council reached a preliminary agreement on the extension of trade liberalization measures for Ukraine, which include new restrictions and safeguards due to the concerns of some EU countries. Late January, the European Commission officially proposed to extend for another year the suspension of import quotas and duties for Ukrainian exports to the EU, at the same time including safeguards for agricultural products, which was demanded by several EU countries. But this proposal did not satisfy farmers in the EU countries bordering Ukraine, who started protests - particularly in Poland.