Farmers’ Protest Movement Grows and Grows in Eastern Europe…

A decisive development in the ferment among farmers is the close coordination and cooperation between farmers of Eastern European countries who, in addition to opposing the EU-Ukraine preferential duty-free deal, also denounce the EU Commission’s “Green Deal”. That issue was primarily taken up by Polish farmers, then joined by colleagues from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The pressure was so successful that the EU Commissioner for Agriculture himself, Janusz Wojciechowski (from Poland), sent a letter to the chairman of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, Norbert Lins, protesting that the burden on farms caused by excessive climate protection measures is too high. “Stop the imports, stop the Green Deal!”, he wrote.

The other members of the EU Commission, however, are unlikely to grant any major concession on the flagship program of Ursula von der Leyen — at least not until the pressure from the farmers and other sectors of the population escalates further. That may well happen between now and the European elections in June.

On Feb. 26, for example, farmers from several European countries, backed up by 1,500 tractors, were in Brussels to have their voices heard by the EU Agriculture Ministers meeting there that day. Moreover, 700 Polish tractors blocked the A2 highway, the main artery of road transport between Germany and Poland, while German tractors did the same on the A12, the continuation of that highway on the German side of the border, on Feb. 25 and 26. This highway blockade was meant as a last wake-up call, a warning strike, Polish organizers of the action warned, that could develop easily into a week-long action failing substantial changes in EU agricultural policies. Road blocks for trucks from Ukraine crossing the borders into Poland are entering their fourth week, complemented by obstruction of rail traffic as well.

Support for the opposition to the Green Deal also came from the Slovakian Minister of Agriculture, Richard Takác, who commented on social media: “This protest is primarily directed against the European Commission. Against the nonsense that the European Commission wants to decide.” He targeted former EU Climate Commissar Frans Timmermans, as the main person who pushed the Green Deal: “He is the one who caused this green mess and just ran away.”

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