EU must bring back pre-war rules of food trade with Ukraine – Polish Foreign Affairs Minister

Tuesday, 27 February 2024

Radosław Sikorski, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, has stated that the EU must bring back trade restrictions on the import of Ukrainian food products which were in place before the full-scale Russian invasion in order to avoid the erosion of support for a country ruined by the war.

"We should go back to pre-war rules of trade and then start negotiating with Ukraine their entry to the EU and the single market, with all the adjustment and all the rules that have to be obeyed. This is just my view," Sikorski said.

According to Bloomberg, he added that the situation had changed, and now Ukraine can transport its grain by the Black Sea again. He said that before the ban on its import two thirds of the Ukrainian grain, which crossed the border, ended up in Poland.

"Polish farmers cannot bear the brunt of all EU solidarity with Ukraine," Sikorski said. "I agree that the optics are not good on that. But we need to do both – save Ukraine and save Polish farming."


The statement of the Polish Foreign Affairs Minister was made after the blockade of the Polish-Ukrainian border by Polish farmers as a protest action against agricultural products from Ukraine.

After the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion the EU lifted the restrictions on import, which the bloc lifted in 2022, providing Ukraine with access to the common market of 27 EU member states. At the moment Warsaw only allowed the transit of Ukrainian grain to the Baltic Sea ports and to the other EU countries.

Recently, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk discussed the increase of export of Ukrainian agricultural products to the poorest countries of the world during the meeting in Warsaw on 26 February in order to calm down the protesters in Poland.

Before that Vasyl Zvarych, ambassador of Ukraine in Poland, urged the Polish authorities to prosecute those responsible for the largest damage done to Ukrainian grain which occurred on 24 February in Poland.

The most extensive damage inflicted on Ukrainian grain in Poland since the beginning of farmers’ protests occurred on the night of 24-25 February – in total the perpetrators damaged 160 tonnes of Ukrainian grain, spilling it from eight train cars.

At a press conference on 25 February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed hope that the issues with Poland would be settled through negotiations on the level of Prime Ministers but promised to protect Ukrainian business in case this did not happen.

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