WARSAW – Polish farmers on Feb 25 blocked a major highway into Germany in the latest such protest against EU regulations and taxes.

Farmers across Europe have been protesting for weeks over what they say are excessively restrictive environmental rules, competition from cheap imports from outside the European Union and low incomes.

On Feb 25, farmers blocked the A2 motorway near Slubice, on the border with Germany in western Poland.

“The blockade began at 1:00 pm (1200 GMT). Both sides of the A2 motorway have been stopped,” Ewa Murmylo, a spokeswoman for local police, told AFP.

Initially the farmers had been planning a 25-day blockade but reduced it following talks with local representatives, businesses and transporters.

They have decided “to unblock the road probably tomorrow”, Monday, said Dariusz Wrobel, one of the Polish farmer organisers.

“This will depend on things that we can’t predict,” he told AFP. “We need to start taking ourselves seriously.”

On Feb 26, EU agriculture ministers are due to meet in Brussels.

They are to discuss new European Commission proposals aiming to change regulations at the heart of the discontent, for example reducing the number of checks on produce.

Polish farmers say they are targeting the European Union’s so-called Green Deal on energy, transportation and taxation, which is an element of the 27-nation bloc’s bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

They say they have been especially hit by increased taxes and other rules.

The farmers have also blocked crossing points at Poland’s border with non-EU member Ukraine to denounce what they say is unfair competition from their war-torn neighbour’s cheaper produce.

On Sunday morning, eight train wagons filled with 160 tonnes of corn believed to have been exported from Ukraine were dumped in Kotomierz, some 300 kilometres northwest of Warsaw, officials announced.

“At 9:13 this morning, we received a call to say that eight wagons of corn were dumped on the train tracks,” Lidia Kowalska, a police spokeswoman, told AFP, adding that police were investigating.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on X, formerly Twitter, that the incident was the “fourth case of vandalism at Polish train stations. The fourth case of impunity and irresponsibility.”

President Volodymyr Zelensky said it was “unjust to use Ukraine to put pressure on European institutions”.

“It is very important for us to safeguard our union with Poland,” he said. “But if no measure is taken, we will protect our enterprises”. AFP

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