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Polish Minister supports farmers, demands quotas and does not rule out blockade of imports from Ukraine

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Polish Agriculture Minister Czesław Siekierski has described farmers’ protests against the influx of goods from Ukraine as justified.

Source: European Pravda, citing Czesław Siekierski on Polskie Radio

Quote: “Farmers have legitimate concerns, expectations, and demands to limit the excessive flow of goods from Ukraine and other non-European markets to the EU, particularly Poland.

Poland and other border countries suffered the most from the EU’s decision to liberalise trade and to open the EU to the inflow of goods from Ukraine without any duties or quotas. It was supposed to be a form of assistance to Ukraine. We understand the help, and the Poles have contributed much of it from the bottom of their hearts (…)

We are in bilateral negotiations with Ukraine to establish certain quotas and volumes that we will control. There will be a blockade if there is too much of a particular product.”

Details: Siekierski believes that the protests of Polish, French and German farmers “were extremely useful for pressuring the European Commission”, adding that “these are acceptable forms of protest”.

The official stressed that farmers’ rights – to protest and to oppose – should not be restricted.

“We held a meeting with representatives of all trade unions and farmers’ organisations, with farmers’ self-government, so that these protests would be the least burdensome for citizens but would have an informative message about why they [the farmers] are protesting. This is related to their challenging economic situation,” the minister pointed out.

The Polish politician said that a complete blockade of imports would be required in certain areas, as in the case of grain.

He did not rule out that “the same will be applied to sugar and poultry meat”.

Quote: “We are analysing this. We will make proposals to the European Commission, though we also want to establish this in our relations with Ukraine.

We will definitely negotiate all the way to the end because the farmers and the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, which has a similar position to the farmers, are right.”

Background: Polish farmers have launched the announced blockade of one of the checkpoints on the Polish-Ukrainian border, Medyka-Shehyni. Their actions are part of a nationwide farmers’ protest.

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