Kyiv should not make sudden moves because of the grain embargo. With Western neighbours, partnerships should be developed and discord not stirred up
In April, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia banned imports of grain and other agricultural products from Ukraine, believing they were entering their markets at dumped prices.
Subsequently, following a European commission decision, those countries lifted the general export ban, but retained an embargo on four grains and oilseeds—wheat, corn, rapeseed, and sunflower.
Initially, the ban was in effect until 5 June, and then extended until 15 September. In July, the countries asked for another extension, this time until the end of the year.
Currently, Bulgaria and Romania are ready to abandon the embargo in support of Ukraine. Poland, on the other hand, has announced that it will not resume imports regardless of Brussels’ decision.
And although economists, having analysed the financial implications of the ban for the Polish market, agree in principle that it has no economic justification—since grain prices on the market are regulated by global events rather than by decisions of individual countries—the Polish government seems to be unwavering.
However, one important factor must be taken into account. In Poland, parliamentary elections are scheduled for 15 October, and the votes of the agricultural sector may play a key role in deciding whether the current government will win or lose.
Therefore, it is unlikely that the government will decide to remove the ‘protective umbrella’ from the Polish grain market at this stage.
What can Ukraine do? I think Kyiv should act pragmatically—that is, wait for the election results and return to negotiations.
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