WARSAW: Polish farmers on Sunday 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 Sunday, farmers from Poland blocked the A2 motorway near Slubice, in the east on the border with Germany. “The blockade began at 1pm. Both sides of the A2 motorway have been stopped,” Ewa Murmylo, a spokeswoman for local police, said.

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 said. “We need to start taking ourselves seriously”. On Monday, 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’s bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They say they have been especially hit by increased taxes and other rules.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2024

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