Ukrainian grain became a political pawn – Sari Essayah: “The slander phase is underway”


The movement of Ukrainian grain to neighboring countries has caused a big dispute in the European Union.

In the spring, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia received a protection decision from the EU, which limited the entry of Ukrainian grain into their territory.

The countries were worried that the grain did not pass through them to the world market, but remained inside the EU and depressed domestic producer prices.

The temporary import ban expired last Friday. The EU Commission considered that the temporary measures introduced in the spring have helped eliminate market disturbances.

For example, it has been possible to store grain even better. The EU has also put money into improving logistics.

However, based on their public statements, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia do not agree to accept the Commission’s decision. They still intend to continue the import ban.

The situation is exceptional, because the EU has a common internal market and a common trade policy. Member states cannot go it alone and make their own separate solutions.

The spokesperson of the EU Commission was still unable to say on Monday what measures the Commission intends to take to get Poland, Hungary and Slovakia back in line.

The government of Ukraine considers the import bans imposed by the three countries to be illegal and intends to take the matter to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for resolution.

The EU Commission has tried to help Ukraine to export its grain products to the world and thus get export euros. It is also about ensuring world food security. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain exporters.

Ministers meeting in Brussels

The agriculture ministers of the member countries met on Monday in Brussels at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting.

Finland was represented at the meeting by the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Sari Essayah (kd). According to him, trade agreements and the situation of Ukraine’s grain spoke at the meeting.

“Ukraine’s neighboring countries do not accept that the export bans ended. Very critical speeches were heard from them at the meeting”, Essayah stated on Monday evening after the meeting.

However, according to Essayah, all the member states that participated in the council meeting emphasized that they still want to support Ukraine.

“Through transport has never caused a problem, everyone is ready for it. The problem is that everything [tuotteet] do not move forward, but remain in the markets of neighboring countries.”

In his speech at the meeting, Essayah stated that the EU must comply with existing trade agreements, the rules of the internal market and the obligations of international agreements.

In his opinion, the unilateral actions of the member countries that have ignored the import ban are not acceptable.

“This is a big question for Ukraine. They need that export revenue. If Ukraine’s exports do not work, we are threatened with a global food crisis and Ukraine’s deepening plight.”

Essayah pointed out that the temporary import ban only ended on Friday. There is still a lot of uncertainty in the air about what will happen next.

“Now we’ll see if the countries really put their own bans into effect. Maybe there is a bit of a taunting phase going on here. How serious each capital is,” Essayah mused.

According to Essayah, the situation may partly be about Poland’s internal politics and the election situation. Parliamentary elections will be held in the country in October.

According to Essayah, decision-makers should now keep the big picture in mind. It’s about global food security and supporting Ukraine.

“Exactly like this, it would be very much in accordance with the Russian playbook, that the member countries would start blaming each other and the grain transport would become complicated. We would be in a situation where people from North Africa would start moving towards Europe. Therefore, this situation should be taken seriously.”

By Editor

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