Why Polish farmers are blocking the border to Germany | EUROtoday

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As of: February 26, 2024 12:20 a.m

There remains to be nothing occurring on the German-Polish border crossing close to Frankfurt on the Oder. Polish farmers are protesting in opposition to EU environmental safety measures – and in opposition to grain imports from Ukraine.

Sabina Matthay

There is at present no means by way of on crucial street connection from Poland to Germany. Polish farmers wish to block Autobahn 2, the extension of the A12 on the Polish aspect, with tractors, harvesters and vehicles till at the very least Monday afternoon. The convoy is kilometers lengthy, Polish flags fly on the automobiles, and banners criticize the EU's agricultural coverage.

Szczepan Wojcik, an organizer of the demonstration, speaks of a warning strike: “We are protesting against the proposals of the European Union and the European Parliament on the Green Deal,” explains Wojcik. According to Polish farmers, the plans for the ecological transformation of agriculture are too drastic. However, Donald Tusk's authorities has not but wished to again out of this.

Duty-free imports from Ukraine

The farmers are additionally campaigning in opposition to the duty-free import of agricultural merchandise from Ukraine. After the Russian invasion two years in the past, the EU suspended all import tariffs and quotas for agricultural merchandise from Ukraine in an effort to assist the nation economically. A Polish farmer who needs to stay nameless criticizes this: “At the moment it has completely destroyed prices and everything that has to do with grain. So if it continues like this, the farmers will definitely not rest.”

Ukrainian agricultural merchandise are presupposed to move by way of Poland in transit. According to farmers, the merchandise nonetheless come onto the Polish market and drive down costs.

Protests grow to be increasingly more agitated

While the demonstrators on the border with Germany are peaceable, the protests on the Polish border with Ukraine have gotten more and more agitated. Most just lately, Ukrainian agricultural merchandise from vans and freight trains had been destroyed. Prime Minister Tusk has now positioned the border crossings on the checklist of crucial infrastructure in order that army and humanitarian deliveries to Ukraine particularly can proceed unhindered.

However, Tusk didn’t settle for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's invitation to a gathering on the border to discover a resolution to the dispute. They will lastly meet in Warsaw on the finish of March for presidency consultations.

Difficult diplomacy

The Polish authorities desires to keep away from a diplomatic escalation between Warsaw and Kiev, but in addition doesn't wish to mess with its personal farmers. “We know how the Polish people have helped Ukraine, and we want to continue to help,” mentioned Poland's Agriculture Minister Siekierski. “But at the same time we don't want the help to come at the expense of one professional group.”

Siekierski now desires to deal with the considerations of Polish farmers at a gathering along with his EU colleagues in Brussels. However, the farmers who’re at present blocking the freeway to Germany are demanding concrete measures, says demo organizer Wojcik: “This is initially a 24-hour protest, but if there are no results, it could last much longer.”

Sabina Matthay, ARD Kiev, tagesschau, February 25, 2024 9:22 p.m