Kiev has filed a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against three EU states over the ban on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products. “It is fundamentally important for us to prove that individual member states cannot impose a ban on imports of Ukrainian products,” said the government’s deputy head in charge of economic affairs, Yulia Svyrydenko, according to a statement released on Monday.
However, Ukraine hopes that Poland, Slovakia and Hungary will lift their import bans and that the legal proceedings will not drag on for too long. Proceedings at the WTO are generally lengthy.
At the same time, pressure from the European Commission and other EU Member States on those bordering Ukraine should be increased to allow agricultural imports again. The European Commission must ensure that the internal market works, Austrian Agriculture Minister Norbert Totschnig (ÖVP) said on Monday. Infrastructure must be expanded so that grain from Ukraine reaches where it is needed – that is, in countries in the Middle East and Africa, Totschnig said. German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir has already criticized the blockade of Ukrainian cereals by the governments of Warsaw, Budapest and Bratislava as “part-time solidarity”.
Ukraine has been resisting a Russian invasion for nearly 19 months. Due to the ongoing war, the usual export by sea from Ukrainian Black Sea ports has almost stopped. Until last Friday, overland exports, mainly of Ukrainian cereals, through the EU were subject to restrictions due to farmers’ protests. The EU Commission’s lifting of import bans was ignored by Slovakia, Poland and Hungary with their own unilateral bans. Romania is considering a similar measure.