Polish prime minister says $100 million in aid is ‘too little and too late’

The European Commission is ready to release another 100 million euros from the crisis reserve for compensation for farmers in Ukraine’s five Eastern European neighbours. The Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki considers this amount ” too little and too late.”

The amount is intended as compensation for the market distortions that occurred after European aid actions for Ukraine. Earlier, the European Union (EU) already released 56 million euros for these damages.

Behind the scenes, busy official consultations are being held between the EU, the five Eastern European countries and Ukraine on technical possibilities to ensure that Ukrainian exports are actually exported and not traded on markets in neighbouring countries. The protests of the five neighbouring countries are directed not only against the grain trade, but also against the duty-free import of meat and other food products.

In eastern Europe, the agricultural sector is affected by European aid actions for Ukraine. Critics say Polish complaints about their stagnant grain sales are exaggerated. According to some reports, Poland exported more agricultural and food products in 2022 than in previous years.

In addition, Poland received significantly more European subsidies in 2022 than in previous years. In total, Poland received 12.5 billion euros in agricultural subsidies. That is an increase of 70 percent compared to 2021.

The Polish blockade of transit of Ukrainian agricultural products is also labelled as electoral rhetoric in Polish politics. Parliamentary elections will be held in Poland later this year.

The ruling conservative PiS party seems to be losing the support of its electorate in the Polish countryside. This is partly because the government could not get African swine fever under control a year or two ago. In addition, the introduction of EU rules means that many rural Poles are no longer covered by subsidy criteria.

On Monday, the European Parliament’s agriculture committee will discuss the current state of affairs. The agriculture ministers of the EU countries will meet in Luxembourg a day later to discuss the issue.