The European Commission has slammed Poland and Hungary’s ban on Ukrainian food imports, saying member states cannot make such decisions regarding trade policy. The leader of the ruling conservative Law and Justice party (PiS), Jarosław Kaczyński, announced over the weekend that a range of agricultural products such as grain, fruits, dairy, vegetables and poultry meat would be stopped from entering Poland from Ukraine. The decision has come as a result of the glut of grain from Ukraine and the flood of Ukrainian products onto the Polish market. In addition, Hungary and Slovakia have enacted similar measures, and there are reports that Romania and Bulgaria may also close their border to certain Ukrainian food imports.
If Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Poland all block Ukrainian food product transit, it would effectively result in a geographical blockade in Europe, as the four countries border Ukraine.
Despite the growing crisis affecting Central and Eastern European countries, the European Commission argues that trade policy is the exclusive competence of the European Union and that “unilateral actions are unacceptable.” It also asserted that in difficult times, it was important to maintain coordination and unity in EU actions.