The third round of negotiations between Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, and Janusz Wojciechowski, European Commissioner for Agriculture, with the agriculture ministers of five countries that are tackling excessive imports of agricultural products from Ukraine have ended in failure.
Details: Following the failure of the ministerial meeting, negotiations will continue at the technical level.
The European Commission has called for a "constructive and evidence-based approach". The idea is that countries should provide evidence in the form of statistics to substantiate their claims and allow the European Commission to consider them.
In quite harsh manner, the European Commission has informed the five agriculture ministers that the package of support for farmers (€100 million from the anti-crisis reserve, agreement to include certain agricultural products in the list of banned imports from Ukraine and assistance in grain exports) depends on the lifting of unilateral import bans.
In response to calls to expand the list of banned goods, Valdis Dombrovskis has expressed the Commission's readiness to launch protective investigations. Such investigations may lead to the suspension of imports.
As noted, the European Commission is becoming irritated by the fact that more and more products are being added to the list. It agreed to ban imports of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds, which was already an unprecedented decision.
This was followed by a letter from the ministers of agriculture of Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary; they demanded that nine more products be added to the list. The next day, Poland also added fruit and apple puree to the list. On Monday, Agriculture Minister Robert Telus announced that he wanted to add one more item, apple juice.
The European Commission has stressed the need to quickly develop a common EU approach and avoid unilateral decisions and bans that threaten the integrity of the internal market.
The unilateral blockade of agricultural imports from Ukraine by Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria was criticised by most EU countries.
There is an understanding of the problem, but EU countries want decisions to be made jointly, not unilaterally.
The European Commission wants to conclude negotiations as soon as possible, as this dispute serves Russia's interests. However, it is not certain that this is what Poland wants.
About ten days ago, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria temporarily restricted grain imports from Ukraine. These countries justified such steps, among other things, by the problems of their own farmers due to favourable competition from Ukrainian products.
Last week, the European Commission offered Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary €100 million in assistance to lift their ban on agricultural imports from Ukraine.
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