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Ban on Ukrainian grain imports brings Hungary and Poland closer

April 20th, 2023

A pro-government columnist rejoices at the sight of Poland and Hungary agreeing on one key issue after the de facto breakup of their traditional friendship because of their diverging attitudes over the war in Ukraine.

Hungary, Poland and Slovakia decided to ban the import of cheap Ukrainian agricultural products, thereby defying criticism by the European Commission. They don’t object to letting those products through to third countries but ban their marketing domestically, to protect local producers.

On Mandiner, Mátyás Kohán welcomes these developments as they bring Poland and Hungary together again after a full year of discord over the war in Ukraine. Poland, in fact is one of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters, while Hungary condemns the Russian aggression but urges an immediate ceasefire. Kohán recalls that Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria asked the EU unsuccessfully to protect their producers by channelling Ukrainian exports to countries in dire need of foodstuffs. It is on such grounds that import levies on Ukrainian farming exports that otherwise don’t meet European environmental standards, have been suspended, they argued. This is why Poland, Hungary and Slovakia suspended the import of Ukrainian farming products until the end of June. The outlier within the Visegrád 4 this time, he remarks, is the Czech Republic which lodged a complaint against Poland and Hungary in Brussels.  In any case, ‘the Hungary-Poland axis is back again’, Kohán writes.

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