Thousands of farmers meet in Warsaw to protest EU agricultural policies and Ukrainian imports

WARSHAW (Poland), Feb 27 : Thousands of farmers marched in downtown Warsaw on Tuesday to protest the European Union’s agricultural policies and the imports of cheap food from Ukraine.
  The protesters say they are demanding that the Polish government withdraw from the EU’s Green Deal, a plan meant to help the environment and fight climate change with measures that include reductions in pesticide use. Farmers across the continent say the plans are too costly.
The protesting Polish 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 the farmers can get on the domestic market.
The protesters gathered at a major intersection near the landmark Palace of Culture and began walking together toward the parliament building. They planned to end up in front of the offices of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who on Tuesday was in Prague for a meeting with his Czech counterpart Prime Minister Petr Fiala.
In Prague, Tusk said they would be working with Brussels to find solutions to the farmers’ demands. Tusk, who has described the farmers’ anger as being justified, said Poland and Czechia are intent on helping Ukraine while also helping their farmers as a result of the “negative effects” that Ukrainian produce is having on them.
Unlike previous protests, the farmers, who carried Polish flags, marched on foot and did not bring their heavy equipment into the city.
Polish farmers are among farmers across Europe who have protesting competition from Ukraine as well as EU environmental policies, which they say will increase their production costs. From Italy to Spain to Belgium and elsewhere, the protests have made the farmers’ plight a key political theme ahead of the June 6-9 parliamentary elections in the 27-nation European Union. (AP)