EC to reply to Poland and four other countries over Ukrainian grain crisis
The European Commission (EC) has said it will respond to a call from five European Union countries, including Poland, for limits on grain imports from Ukraine.
Poland and three other countries neighbouring Ukraine, as well as Bulgaria, demanded restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports in a joint letter sent to the European Commission (EC) on Friday.
The letter was an initiative of Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, who had previously criticised the EU for apparently failing to deliver on its promise to send grain imported from Ukraine to Middle Eastern and African countries.
Some of the grain exports remain in Ukraine's neighbours, including Poland, and farmers have complained that they have problems selling their own grain due to full warehouses and decreasing prices.
In a letter addressed to the EC head, Ursula von der Leyen, the prime ministers of Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia wrote that "The Russian aggression against Ukraine has not only led to a huge increase in production costs in the agricultural sector... but also to problems... related to a substantial increase in the supply of Ukrainian products to the markets of the EU Member States, especially those bordering or close to Ukraine."
The signatories of the letter called for more funding, in addition to planned emergency measures, to support farmers who have suffered losses and are at risk of losing financial liquidity.
On Monday, EC spokesman Balazs Ujvari confirmed that the Commission had received the letter and would reply to it.
He said that in preparing the proposal to extend the suspension of import duties on all Ukrainian exports to the European Union, the EC took into account certain sensitivities on the EU market and that it is aware of the need to ensure that the EU market is not seriously affected.
Ujvari acknowledged that some EU countries face bigger challenges over Ukrainian grain imports and therefore the EC had prepared a EUR 56-million package for Poland, Romania and Bulgaria to address the situation.
He added that the EC recognises that further assistance is needed for other countries facing this challenge.
Ujvari also said that the EC had strengthened the security mechanisms to ensure that they can be used quickly and effectively and prepared a new backstop proposal to be examined by member states shortly.