Polish farmers’ protests crank up pressure on EU agriculture head

Feb 9, 2024

WARSAW: Polish politicians called on the EU agriculture commissioner to step down on Friday as farmers blocked border roads with his home country Poland and Ukraine for a month. general strike to oppose EU policies,
Farmers in France, Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Spain and Germany are also protesting against barriers imposed on them by EU measures to combat it. Climate changeAs well as rising costs and what they say is unfair competition from abroad.
Polish farmers are angry at the impact of cheap food imports from neighboring Ukraine at what they say is their government's “inaction”. EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski has come under attack from all sides.
“There is one man in Europe who has united all European and Polish farmers against his proposed reform. It is Janusz Wojciechowski. Resign!” Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Kosinik-Kamiz said.
Wojciechowski was also criticized by the leader of the former ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party which had proposed him for the post. Jarosław Kaczynski said he would call the commissioner and ask him to step down.
About 100 farmers and 50 cars blocked the Medika border crossing, blocking traffic for all vehicles, Ukrainian border service spokesman Andriy Demchenko said on television.
The Ukrainian Border Service also said traffic flow at two other crossings had been affected.
Polish media said there were more than 250 blockades across the country. Pictures showed convoys of tractors blocking the roads and carrying banners reading “Without us, you will be hungry, naked and silent”.
“Today the whole of Europe is on fire. The Green Deal has arrived, which has destroyed our thinking about agriculture,” Wislaw Grin, one of the protesters, told private broadcaster TVN24 at the Hrubieszów border crossing.
“We are not against pro-ecological solutions, but they must be agreed upon by farmers.”
Poland's agriculture minister said he understood the challenges faced by farmers but that he hoped the protests could be organized in a way that was “least burdensome for citizens”.
“Farmers have legitimate concerns, expectations and demands to limit the excessive flow of goods from Ukraine as well as other non-European markets to the EU, especially Poland,” Czeslaw Siekierski told public radio on Friday.

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