The European Commission implicated for having decreed an illegal embargo on Russian fertilizers


A marked incompetence on the part of the President of the European Commission and her services? The daily Release revealed on September 22 an embarrassing affair for Ursula von der Leyen. This would have indeed blocked, since August, the export of Russian agricultural fertilizers despite the agreement fiercely negotiated between Moscow and kyiv and signed in Istanbul in July 2022.

As the newspaper recalls, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the European Union (EU) on September 16, on the occasion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, of blocking its fertilizer exports, and of contributing thus jeopardizing, despite “his rhetoric to eradicate hunger in the world”, the supply of poor countries and global food security. The Europeans then multiplied the denials, seeing it as an attempt by the Kremlin to make people believe that the European sanctions were responsible for the food crisis.

But, raiseRelease– little suspect of complacency with regard to Vladimir Putin – the assertions of the Russian president were quite correct, since the European Commission would indeed have enacted a ban on all purchases, transport and transit of Russian fertilizers, which it does not would have lifted, “in disaster and very discreetly” only on September 19.

This violation of an international agreement took place in the middle of the summer, after the seventh package of sanctions adopted by the EU against Moscow, framed by a very clear European text indicating that none of the sanctions should target “in any way, trade in agricultural and food products, including wheat and fertilizers, between third countries and Russia”. However, the Commission then published, on August 10, “guidelines” in order to list the products targeted by the said sanctions, but without mentioning any derogation for fertilizers, a point also confirmed by the economic magazine Forbes. The direct consequence of this is the blocking of ships transporting fertilizers passing through European ports, and a refusal by insurers, worried about exposing themselves, to cover these cargoes.

Concert of protests against the incompetence of the Commission

The European Commission’s initiative has sparked a storm of protest, both within the EU and internationally. According toRelease, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres immediately demanded explanations from Ursula von der Leyen, whose services confirmed that fertilizers were subject to the embargo. According to a European official contacted by the newspaper, it could have been an “error” by the Commission services, but the decision was taken by Ursula von der Leyen, making “a political choice”.

The Commission then modified on September 19 its “guidelines” of August 10 under pressure from the Member States, but invoked a “misunderstanding”. At the same time, it decided that Russian cement, wood and coal – subject to the embargo – could be exported to third countries, further adding to the confusion and providing no explanation for these exemptions.

always according to Release, this imbroglio aroused great discontent in European capitals, so much so that foreign ministers met urgently in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on September 19, to demand accountability. In vain, since the European commissioner in charge of crisis management Janez Lenarcic, just like the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell were not aware of anything. These two officials would have been “completely kept out”, insofar as the Ukrainian file is directly managed by Ursula von der Leyen and her chief of staff, Bjoern Seibert, whom the daily describes as “a true viceroy of the Commission”.

“The matter is so serious that it has even been brought up to the Heads of State and Government”, adds the newspaper, which reports that the Secretary General of the Commission Ilze Juhansone ended up presenting her apologies to the ambassadors of the Member States on September 21 for this diplomatic fiasco. Although the Commission has undertaken to ‘re-examine’ its guidelines, it is a real ‘mistrust which is growing between the 27 and [Ursula] von der Leyen”, deciphers Release. The daily also lists several issues in which the President of the Commission has shown amateurism, including the blockade of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, decided “under pressure from a few States including Poland” before being abandoned in the face of to rising tensions with Moscow.

Showing “unwavering” support for kyiv, Ursula von der Leyen said in a September 21 CNN interview that Vladimir Putin’s recent statements called for “new sanctions”, and expressed her opposition to calls for a ceasefire. fire in Ukraine in front of Princeton University in the United States, judging that “there is a lot at stake, not only for Ukraine but also for Europe, for the international community and for the world order “.


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