Ukraine has threatened to sue the European Union over a current impasse to do with the country's grain imports. (Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty Images)


Ukraine threatens to sue EU over grain-deal impasse


Ukraine has threatened to sue the European Union over a current impasse regarding the country’s grain exports.

Brussels has banned the entry of Ukrainian grain for sale into five countries within the bloc, a move aimed at preventing local farmers from being flooded with cheap Ukrainian wheat.

With the ban set to expire on September 15, Ukraine is now threatening the EU with legal action amid a push from Poland to have the embargo extended further.

“With full respect and gratitude to Poland, in case of introduction of any bans after [September 15], Ukraine will bring the case against Poland and the EU to the World Trade Organisation,” the Ukraine deputy economy minister Taras Kachka, said.

He added that Kyiv would not “immediately” take the EU to court over the matter “given the spirit of friendship and solidarity between” the two powers, but that it would nevertheless act on the threats should the bloc not acquiesce to Ukrainian demands.

The threat is the latest salvo to be fired over the grain row, which has seen the governments of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia act to close their borders to Ukrainian wheat in the hope of keeping prices at competitive levels.

Although the move has angered Ukraine, there appears to be growing support for an extension on the Eastern grain ban, with European Commission farming tsar Janusz Wojciechowski saying recently it should be continued.

“My observation is this local ban is functioning well, the direct imports to these five countries stopped, but we found negative consequences, generally, for the EU market, because the imports continued to other countries which need Ukraine grain,” the official said.

“We can expect – this is my observation – that if this ban is not prolonged, we will have the same problem as before with the frontline Member States.”

The statement appears to put him at odds with the rest of the EC, which has hinted that it is in favour of allowing the ban to elapse in mid-September.

Poland has remained against such grain imports, prompting Ukrainian officials to accuse the country of pursuing its own “self-interest” at the expense of Kyiv.