Import bans: is Europe’s solidarity wavering?

The dispute over import bans on Ukrainian agricultural products to certain EU countries is escalating. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticised Poland’s lack of solidarity. In response, Warsaw summoned the Ukrainian ambassador, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki even called certain arms deliveries into question in an interview. Emotions are running high over the issue in other countries too, as a glance at Europe’s press shows.

Interia (PL) /

Base remarks don’t alter common interests

Although disappointed, Interia does not question Poland’s close alliance with Ukraine:

“Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks according to which Poland, while making a show of solidarity, is in fact paving the way for Moscow to win, are simply base. Politicians can be despicable but one cannot be indifferent to such actions, otherwise they will be repeated. But does this change the fact that, geopolitically, Ukraine is and will be one of Poland’s most important allies for years to come? No.”

Wiktor Świetlik
NV (UA) /

Ukrainian grain costing votes

Investment banker Serhi Fursa writes in NV:

“The Ukrainian grain isn’t such a big problem for Polish farmers. But they are using it to get more money for themselves — money they didn’t earn due to the drop in prices on the grain market. This is in fact due to the return of Ukrainian grain to the global market. And this has of course also affected the prices at which Polish farmers can sell their grain. Those in power in Poland are meeting them halfway, because these are their voters. ... It is Poland’s ruling party that needs votes for the elections. Like a man who is drowning.”

Serhij Fursa
Deutsche Welle (RO) /

Less election pressure in Romania

Deutsche Welle’s Romanian Service examines why Bucharest can take a more relaxed approach to the negotiations right now:

“Romania isn’t due to hold parliamentary and presidential elections until the end of next year, so aspects concerning Ukraine aren’t as sensitive in electoral terms as in Poland or Slovakia. Nevertheless, the far-right nationalist AUR party is currently gaining ground in Romania. This party represents pro-Russian positions, and its programme advocates the unification of all Romanians in a single state including Northern Bukovina, which belongs to Ukraine.”

Keno Verseck
Duma (BG) /

Bulgaria too pliant

Sofia should also insist on import restrictions, Duma demands:

“After the Poles, Hungarians and Slovaks, the Croats have now also shown Zelensky and the EU the red card. ... Yes, they will continue to help Ukraine, but when it comes to domestic production and their own farmers, the policy is changing radically. ... We, on the other hand, have already given in, always ready to show a big heart and compassion for foreigners in need. You would think everything was just fine in our tormented country, that people have no problems here, that we can afford to import grain of questionable quality from a country where a war is being waged and the soil is contaminated.”

Tanja Gluchtschewa
Denik (CZ) /

EU should sell the grain to poorer countries

Deník describes a potential way out of the dilemma:

“If the Ukrainians can’t make money by exporting their grain, they’ll have to get it from us in another way. So it’s probably better if we at least buy the grain from Ukraine. We simply have to put it to good use. Perhaps, as the EU, we can export it cheaply to third world countries where grain is already in short supply and likely to remain so.”

Luboš Palata
Pravda (SK) /

Return to dairy and meat farming difficult

The dispute over Ukrainian wheat exports will force Slovakia to adopt a new agricultural policy, Pravda states:

“Ukraine is de facto already integrated into the EU. Slovak farmers are thus losing the German, Austrian and Italian markets because Ukrainian wheat is cheaper. If grain and soy aren’t selling, we have to use them to produce milk and meat. ... Livestock farming was considered a natural part of agriculture and rural life in our country. Today, however, the Slovakian landscape looks different. Most villages have remained without farms, the animals have been slaughtered. ... If we want to change that again, it will be painful.”

Jozef Sedlák