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Thousands of farmers protest in Warsaw over EU’s environmental policies

Demonstrators want the Polish government to withdraw from the Green Deal, saying measures aimed at fighting climate change are too costly.

Thousands of Polish farmers, with national flags and angry slogans written on boards, protested against EU green policies (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)
Poland farmers' protest Thousands of Polish farmers, with national flags and angry slogans written on boards, protested against EU green policies (Czarek Sokolowski/AP) (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

Thousands of farmers marched in Poland’s capital on Tuesday to protest over European Union agricultural policies and imports of cheap food from neighbouring Ukraine, part of weeks of similar protests across Europe.

Demonstrators want the Polish government to withdraw from the EU’s Green Deal, a plan meant to fight climate change and help the environment with measures they say are too costly.

Polish farmers protest in Warsaw over EU agricultural policies and imports of cheap food from neighbouring Ukraine (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)
Poland Farmers Protest Polish farmers protest in Warsaw over EU agricultural policies and imports of cheap food from neighbouring Ukraine (Czarek Sokolowski/AP) (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

The farmers also want Poland’s border with Ukraine sealed to the imports of grain and other food products that they say are bringing down the prices they can get on the domestic market.

The protesters, who mostly left their tractors at home, planned to end up in front of the offices of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who was in Prague on Tuesday for a meeting with his Czech counterpart.

Mr Tusk, who has described farmers’ anger as justified, said the countries will be working with Brussels to find solutions to farmers’ demands.

Polish farmers want the government to withdraw from the EU’s Green Deal (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)
Poland Farmers Protest Polish farmers want the government to withdraw from the EU’s Green Deal (Czarek Sokolowski/AP) (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

He also said Poland and Czechia are intent on helping Ukraine, while acknowledging the “negative effects” that Ukrainian produce is having on local farmers.

From Italy to Spain to Belgium and elsewhere, farmers’ protests have made their plight a key political theme ahead of June 6-9 parliamentary elections in the 27-nation EU.

The EU Commission has already made some concessions to farmers, including postponing a cut in pesticide use until after the elections.