Polish farmers rally in Warsaw against EU policies, Ukraine imports

Polish farmers rally in Warsaw against EU policies, Ukraine imports
Polish farmers rally in Warsaw against EU policies, Ukraine imports

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - People hold smoke flares as Polish farmers protest over price pressures, taxes and green regulation, grievances shared by farmers across Europe and against the import of agricultural produce and food products from Ukraine, near the Parliament in Warsaw, Poland, February 27, 2024. — Reuters pic

WARSAW, Feb 27 — Thousands of Polish farmers took to the streets of Warsaw today, carrying the national flag and blowing handheld horns, escalating a protest which started early February against food imports from Ukraine and European Union green rules.

Farmers across Europe have been protesting for weeks against constraints placed on them by the EU’s ‘Green Deal’ regulations meant to tackle climate change, as well as rising costs and what they say is unfair competition from outside the EU, particularly Ukraine.

The Polish farmers rallied in central Warsaw before marching towards parliament and then the prime minister’s office, about 3 kilometres away.

“We are protesting because we want the ‘green deal’ to be lifted, as it will lead our farms to bankruptcy with its costs... that are not comparable to what we harvest and to what we are paid,” said Kamil Wojciechowski, 31, a farmer from Izbica Kujawska in central Poland.

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“And ... what we’re paid for our work, it has decreased because of the influx of grain from Ukraine and this is our second demand - to block the influx of grain from Ukraine.”

Polish farmers began a series of protests throughout the country earlier this month, which included a near-total blockade of all Ukrainian border crossings, as well as disruptions at ports and on roads nationwide.

“We won’t give up. We have no choice. Our farms will go bankrupt, we will lose our livelihoods,” Pawel Walkowiak, 47, a corn and wheat producer from Konarzewo in western Poland said.

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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said during a visit to Prague today that the EU has to solve the problems created by its decision to open its borders to imports of Ukrainian food products after Russia invaded its neighbour in early 2022.

“No one has the right to think that the Czech Republic and Poland do not support Ukraine, but... we will work together in Brussels for corrections that will protect our market against the negative effects of this decision,” Tusk said. — Reuters

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