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Farmers win the battle: EU brakes on imports of Ukrainian grain

This explicit support no longer applies to the agricultural products that Ukraine exports to the EU!

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Faced with the farmer revolts in his own country and the poor polling numbers for his party in the run up to the EP elections, Macron decided to join Tusk and the other Eastern European member states.
Faced with the farmer revolts in his own country and the poor polling numbers for his party in the run up to the EP elections, Macron decided to join Tusk and the other Eastern European member states.

N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column

Tomorrow, Thursday March 21, the 27 leaders will promise, that ’The EU is determined to continue to provide Ukraine and its people with all necessary, political, financial, economic, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support for as long as it takes’. According to the already published draft text.

However, this explicit support no longer applies to the agricultural products that Ukraine exports to the EU! To appease EU farmers, there will be a restriction that will lead to less income for Kiev.

In June 2022 the European Commission suspended import tariffs and quotas for Ukraine exports. There was an urgent need for an alternative to exports via the Black Sea, which was blocked by Russia.

At the recent extension of that measure until June 2025 Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said: “It provides Ukraine with export benefits, jobs and money to finance the war’.

Farmers in Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia revolted against that measure and started blocking border crossings. The complain that the market is flooded with cheap products from Ukraine.

To appease the farmers, the Commission came up with an ‘emerging brake’ for some products (sugar, eggs, poultry); the European Parliament added honey and wheat to the list. Ukraine would miss out 1,2 billion euros on revenue. The Eastern European member states supported it, but didn’t get their way in the Council.

That changed last Friday, when French President Emmanuel Marcon took a U-turn in a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Faced with the farmer revolts in his own country and the poor polling numbers for his party in the run up to the EP elections, Macron decided to join Tusk and the other Eastern European member states.

It is all quite cynical. Tusk who is shouting the loudest that we must support Ukraine and Macron who is presenting himself as the European leader in the war against Putin. But also it shows how problematic the negotiations about the EU enlargement with Ukraine will become.

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