Poland’s prime minister says his government will not lift its embargo on imports of Ukrainian grain as scheduled on Friday because it would hurt Polish farmers.
“Poland will not allow Ukraine grain to flood us,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Regardless of the decisions of the clerks in Brussels, we will not open up our borders,” Morawiecki said in the midst of intensive campaigning for parliamentary elections on October 15.
Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, in agreement with the European Union, imposed an embargo on Ukrainian farm produce from April until September 15 to prevent a glut in their home markets that would hurt local farmers.
Only transit of sealed goods is allowed in an effort to help Ukraine send its produce overseas as Russia blocks its usual export routes.
Morawiecki posted his comments shortly before Poland’s cabinet was due to discuss the matter. The European Parliament is also set to debate the issue.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said Tuesday he is making efforts to have the embargo extended. Wojciechowski is Poland’s former agriculture minister.
Some leaders of Polish farm groups were to attend the EU Parliament debate, including Michal Kolodziejczak, who is an opposition candidate in the elections.
Poland has been supporting neighbouring Ukraine with military and humanitarian assistance as it fights Russia’s invasion, but following farmer protests, Warsaw has been adamant in banning imports of Ukrainian agriculture products.
The disagreement led to a diplomatic spat last month when Marcin Przydacz, the head of Polish President Andrzej Duda’s international policy office, suggested Ukraine should start “to appreciate the role that Poland has played for Ukraine in recent months and years.”
Poland’s ambassador to Kyiv was summoned by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and told during the meeting that comments about “alleged ingratitude” were “unacceptable”.