Polish farmers block Ukraine's border as protests intensify against non-EU imports

Tractors block the Poland-Ukraine border
Tractors block the Poland-Ukraine border Copyright Czarek Sokolowski/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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Polish farmers blocked border crossings with Ukraine and traffic in Warsaw on Tuesday in protest against the so-called European "Green Deal".

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Polish farmers blocked border crossings with Ukraine, burned tires and spilled grain from train wagons on Tuesday as they intensified a nationwide protest against the import of Ukrainian foods and European Union environmental policies.

Farmers from Spain to Italy to Belgium have been protesting recently, worried that EU plans to place limits on the use of chemicals and on greenhouse gas emissions will result in a reduction in production and income. They are also in revolt against competition from non-EU countries, Ukraine in particular, a large producer of agricultural goods.

Polish farmers held protests in more than 180 places, blocking access routes to border crossings with Ukraine. They drove tractors across junctions and highway entrances and exits near cities including Warsaw, Poznan and Wroclaw.

The protests are a growing source of tensions between Ukraine and neighbours across its Western border who support its efforts to fight off Russia's invasion but are facing pressure from farmers who say Ukrainian grain and other food imports are damaging their livelihoods by creating a glut on the market that pushes down prices.

Zelenskyy said protests indicate "erosion of solidarity"

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy singled out the protesting Polish farmers in his nightly address on Monday, saying their actions indicated an “erosion of solidarity."

“Near Kupiansk, close to the Russian border, where enemy artillery does not cease, news from the border with Poland seems outright mocking,” said Zelenskyy.

More protests were expected Thursday in central and Eastern Europe. Farmers complain that the 27-nation EU’s policies on the environment and other matters are a financial burden and make their products more expensive than non-EU imports.

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