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Czech farmers set to join protests, border blockade over Ukrainian imports

by Sonya Bandouil February 14, 2024 3:37 AM 2 min read
Czech Agriculture Minister Marek Vyborny attends the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting in Brussels, Belgium on July 25, 2023. (Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Czech farmers will join a large-scale protest next week against EU agricultural policies that allow cheap product imports from Ukraine, the Czech news outlet iRozhas reported Feb. 13.

Farmers across Europe have been protesting what they say is increased competition from abroad, particularly Ukraine, as well as EU policies targeting climate change. Polish farmers plan to completely blockade all border crossings between Ukraine and Poland starting Feb. 20 as part of a 30-day general strike.

Farmers from the Czech Republic are planning their own blockade. Protesters will obstruct a highway in Prague on Feb. 19 to bring attention to the demands of Czech farmers. The demonstrators will also send a letter to Agriculture Minister Marek Vyborny demanding the country's withdrawal from the European Green Deal.

Demonstrators will then head to border crossings on Feb. 22, to meet farmers of other countries with similar demands.

Agricultural groups from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Bulgaria have protested the EU's Green Deal in recent weeks. The deal includes a plan to halve pesticide use, lower fertilizer use, and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Another major point of protest revolves around Ukraine’s sugar and grain imports, and the competition these products have brought to European farmers. Demonstrators claim that the influx of unregulated Ukrainian imports has driven down prices, limiting earnings for local farmers.

In recent weeks, protests have gone beyond demonstrations and truck blockades. On Feb. 11, Polish farmers stopped three trucks carrying Ukrainian grain and spilled it onto the road. On Feb. 13, farmers in Sofia, Bulgaria spilled milk onto the streets as a sign of protest.

Ukraine is one of the world’s largest agricultural producers, and plays a critical role in exporting grain globally. Russia’s full-scale invasion has drastically limited supply chain capabilities and threatened worldwide food exports.

Polish farmer blockade puts Polish-Ukrainian relations at further risk
Polish farmers have again taken to the border with neighboring Ukraine in their new month-long strike against EU policies and unfair competition from abroad. The Solidarity trade union announced on Feb. 9 that it would begin blocking roads and border crossings with Ukraine until March 10. The group…
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