Ukraine filed lawsuits against Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia over a ban on imports of its agricultural products, Economy Minister Yuliia Svyrydenko said in a statement Monday.
“It is crucially important for us to prove that individual member states cannot ban imports of Ukrainian goods. That is why we are filing lawsuits against them with the World Trade Organization (WTO). At the same time, we hope that these countries will lift their restrictions and we will not have to settle the matter in courts for a long time,” Svyrydenko said.
The lawsuit comes after the European Union said on Friday that it planned to suspend a temporary ban on the export of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. The measure was put in place to counter the risk of farmers in these countries being undercut by a bottleneck of cheap Ukrainian grain.
However, Poland, Hungry, and Slovakia said they would defy it. CNN has reached out to Poland’s Ministry of Agriculture, Hungary’s Ministry of Agriculture, and Slovakia’s Ministry of Agriculture for comment.
Ukraine calls this situation “a violation by the three EU countries of their international obligations.” It asked the EU members “to coordinate and harmonize trade policy, as it is within the exclusive competence of the EU,” according to the statement.
Ukraine trade representative Taras Kachka told Politico that such acts of defiance show a lack of unity within the bloc and pose a “systemic concern.”
“I think that all the world should see how member states in the EU behave towards trade partners and their own Union, because it can influence other states as well,” Kachka said.
Spain’s agriculture minister has warned that the move by Poland, Slovakia and Hungary may be illegal.
“The fact that any member country — I’m not judging one member country, but any member country — takes unilateral action restricting what is the access to the single market, seems to me something that is out of the law,” Luis Planas Puchades told reporters on his way into a meeting of EU agriculture ministers in Brussels.
Puchades said it will be for the European Commission to judge whether the unilateral bans are illegal, adding that commission representatives will brief the ministers on potential follow up action on Monday afternoon.
CNN’s Niamh Kennedy contributed reporting to this post.