EU lifts export ban on Ukrainian grain; Poland furious

The European Commission no longer considers it necessary to impose export restrictions on Ukrainian grain.

President Zelensky's government has pledged to take its own measures within a month against unintended side effects of agricultural exports in their five EU neighbors. New blockades of border crossings by angry Polish farmers are being taken into account.

Brussels says export figures and grain transports via the solidarity corridors to EU ports have shown that large shipments of agricultural products no longer end up in the five EU neighbors. That is why Brussels has decided not to extend the temporary export ban imposed in May on four Ukrainian agricultural products that expired on Friday. 

Poland fears that the arrival of a lot of cheap Ukrainian grain will again disrupt the local Polish grain trade. The Polish government has already reacted angrily to the Brussels decision and now says it will take action against Ukrainian exports. Hungary is also threatening this. but Bulgaria decided not to do so yesterday.

Ukraine will submit an action plan to Brussels by the end of the working day on Monday, September 18, 2023. The European Commission will refrain from imposing restrictions as long as Ukraine's effective measures are in place and fully functioning. 

Since the introduction of the temporary export ban in May, the ban has been a point of increasing friction between Brussels and Kiev, which it has deemed 'unacceptable'. Several Member States, including Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium, had “serious concerns” about the damaging impact on Ukraine. 

The five Eastern countries urged that the bans be extended. Poland took an uncompromising attitude. Poland's opposition has been linked to the October 15 parliamentary elections as the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) aims to attract conservative voters in rural areas. Slovakia will also go to the polls on September 30.