poland farmer march 2024
© Wojtek Radwanski / AFPPolish farmers have staged regular protests against EU policies on climate measures and imports from outside the bloc
Polish farmers blocked roads with tractors and flares on Wednesday in escalating protests against EU environmental regulations and cheap food imports from neighbouring Ukraine which the bloc provisionally agreed to prolong.

Placards depicted a farmer swinging from a gallows next to wind farms and an EU-emblazoned executioner with the words: "Green Deal equals death of Polish agriculture", referring to the bloc's plan to tackle climate change.

Farmers in Poland and elsewhere in the bloc have been protesting in recent months to demand the re-imposition of customs duties on agricultural imports from Ukraine that were waived after Russia's invasion in 2022.

They say Ukraine's farmers are flooding Europe with cheap imports that leave them unable to compete.

With hundreds of protests planned, Reuters footage from Zakret, east of Warsaw, showed farmers blocking ways into the capital. Tractors lined roads mounted with Polish flags while red flares were set off.

"We demand the withdrawal of the 'Green Deal' as a whole, we demand the withdrawal of the 'Fit for 55' (EU climate plan), the limits on all emissions, all the bans and orders," said protest organiser Lukasz Komorowski, speaking to fellow rallying farmers at the Zakret blockade.

Comment: Indeed, because farmers across Europe are realising that the 'Green Deal' is instead a 'deceptive' Trojan horse that's, ultimately, intended to throw them out of business.

Note also that the EU is well aware that devastating food shortages are looming: Europe is wargaming a food crisis - Bloomberg


On Wednesday, the EU reached provisional agreement to extend Ukrainian food producers' tariff-free access to its markets until June 2025 - albeit with new limits on grain imports.

Polish protest leaders said they were not happy with the latest deal as it included the last few years as a reference for import limits. They want quotas based on figures from well before the war in Ukraine began, when imports were much lower.

"We demand quotas and that they be calculated for the period from 2000, and not as Ukraine wants 2022-2023, because that was when the (import) levels were the highest. This does not fully satisfy us, because it is not a good solution," Slawomir Izdebski, leader of the OPZZ farmers' union, told Reuters.

Polish police said they knew of more than 580 protests planned for Wednesday, with an estimated participation of 70,000 people.

Last Friday, the European Commission also offered concessions to farmers as it proposed an easing of rules on leaving land fallow or rotating crops.

Farmers in the Czech Republic held similar protests.

They drove an estimated 1,600 tractors and other agricultural machinery onto the streets, Barbora Pankova, a spokesperson for the Czech Agrarian Chamber, told Czech Television.