Briefly: Hungary has added honey and various meats to a list of Ukrainian products that can’t be imported until at least 30 June. The EU has criticised Hungary’s decision and similar measures from Poland, Slovakia, and Bulgaria.
The seeds of all this tension were planted last year when a Russian blockade in the Black Sea led the EU to cut tariffs on Ukrainian grain, to help Ukraine’s economy. But a flood of cheap Ukrainian wheat has since left EU farmers uncompetitive (and angry).
In March, the EU allocated millions to support farmers along its eastern flank, and on Wednesday, officials suggested topping up with another €100M.
Intrigue’s take: Poland and Slovakia are some of Ukraine’s biggest supporters. But they’ve both got elections this year, and a poke in the EU’s eye can be great politics. As for Hungary, its prime minister is no fan of the EU or Ukraine.
But whatever the motivation, this whole issue risks weakening European unity. And that’s good news for Russia; less so for Ukraine.
Also worth noting:
- Russia warned last week that it may stop participating in the Black Sea grain initiative after the next deadline on 18 May, unless the West eliminates certain sanctions.
- Check out today’s Intrigue Outloud to see how fractures among EU members risk undermining Ukraine’s war effort.