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Polish farmers block roads to Warsaw, border crossings (VIDEOS)

The protesters oppose what they see as excessive EU environmental requirements and unfairly cheap imports from Ukraine

Polish farmers intensified nationwide protests on Wednesday, decrying EU agricultural policies and the flood of duty-free imports from Ukraine. Tens of thousands of agricultural workers are blocking roads in several hundred locations across the country, according to media reports.

The demonstrators have blocked the main roads leading out of the capital of Warsaw with tractors and other agricultural equipment, numerous media outlets have reported.

“We have run out of arguments. We need to work in the field, spring has already come, but there is no point in this, since we will not earn anything, so we are here,” one of the protesters, a farmer who called himself Krzysztof, told RIA Novosti.

The roads leading to the German-Polish border have also been blocked. Footage from the area shows dozens of vehicles parked on the motorway, blocking traffic.

Police have been called to the sites where the demonstrators are gathered, but there have been no reports of clashes so far.

According to media reports, Polish farmers were planning a total of more than 500 road blockades on Wednesday, pledging to “paralyze” the country. Polish police said they were aware of over 580 protests planned for Wednesday and expect roughly 70,000 people to take part.

Protests by farmers have been taking place in Poland and across other EU states for weeks. The demonstrators have been calling for changes to the restrictions placed on them by the bloc’s environmental policies – the so-called Green Deal – and for a halt to imports of agricultural products from outside the bloc, primarily Ukraine. The farmers complain that they are unable to compete with the cheap Ukrainian imports that are flooding EU markets.

Despite the outcry by farmers, earlier on Wednesday, Brussels reached a provisional agreement to extend Ukraine’s duty-free access to its markets until June 2025. However, the agreement introduces an “emergency brake” on imports of poultry, eggs, sugar, oats, maize, groats, and honey if they exceed the average levels of 2022 and 2023. However, the Polish protesters opposed the deal, saying they want the reference point for import limits to be the years prior to the Ukraine conflict, as volumes were much lower then.


READ MORE: EU extends tariff-free trade with Ukraine  

Last week, EU lawmakers also proposed easing certain environmental rules, such as measures targeting crop rotation, in a bid to stem the protests. This will be among the topics for discussion by the agriculture ministers of member states at their next meeting on March 26.

The protesters oppose what they see as excessive EU environmental requirements and unfairly cheap imports from Ukraine

Polish farmers intensified nationwide protests on Wednesday, decrying EU agricultural policies and the flood of duty-free imports from Ukraine. Tens of thousands of agricultural workers are blocking roads in several hundred locations across the country, according to media reports.

The demonstrators have blocked the main roads leading out of the capital of Warsaw with tractors and other agricultural equipment, numerous media outlets have reported.

“We have run out of arguments. We need to work in the field, spring has already come, but there is no point in this, since we will not earn anything, so we are here,” one of the protesters, a farmer who called himself Krzysztof, told RIA Novosti.

The roads leading to the German-Polish border have also been blocked. Footage from the area shows dozens of vehicles parked on the motorway, blocking traffic.

Police have been called to the sites where the demonstrators are gathered, but there have been no reports of clashes so far.

According to media reports, Polish farmers were planning a total of more than 500 road blockades on Wednesday, pledging to “paralyze” the country. Polish police said they were aware of over 580 protests planned for Wednesday and expect roughly 70,000 people to take part.

Protests by farmers have been taking place in Poland and across other EU states for weeks. The demonstrators have been calling for changes to the restrictions placed on them by the bloc’s environmental policies – the so-called Green Deal – and for a halt to imports of agricultural products from outside the bloc, primarily Ukraine. The farmers complain that they are unable to compete with the cheap Ukrainian imports that are flooding EU markets.

Despite the outcry by farmers, earlier on Wednesday, Brussels reached a provisional agreement to extend Ukraine’s duty-free access to its markets until June 2025. However, the agreement introduces an “emergency brake” on imports of poultry, eggs, sugar, oats, maize, groats, and honey if they exceed the average levels of 2022 and 2023. However, the Polish protesters opposed the deal, saying they want the reference point for import limits to be the years prior to the Ukraine conflict, as volumes were much lower then.


READ MORE: EU extends tariff-free trade with Ukraine  

Last week, EU lawmakers also proposed easing certain environmental rules, such as measures targeting crop rotation, in a bid to stem the protests. This will be among the topics for discussion by the agriculture ministers of member states at their next meeting on March 26.

 

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