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Polish government to sign deal ending border blockade with farmers

Polish government to sign deal ending border blockade with farmers Photo: Polish government to sign agreement with farmers to end border blockade (Getty Images)

On January 6, the Minister of Agriculture of Poland, Czeslaw Sekersky, will sign an agreement with farmers in Rzeszów to help unblock the border crossing Medyka-Shehyni, reports Rzeczpospolita.

As reported by the publication, the minister decided to provide written guarantees regarding the fulfillment of three demands of protesting farmers, namely:

  • Providing subsidies for corn.
  • Guaranteeing no increase in taxes.
  • Offering cheap loans.

The Ministry is still awaiting notification from the European Commission regarding the allocation of one billion zlotys for corn subsidies.

The planned tax increase of 21% particularly stirred the emotions of the protesters. The government, however, has rejected these plans. Nevertheless, the corresponding laws must be adopted by the Sejm, and local authorities will receive state compensation from the 2025 budget.

Specifically, farmers demanded an extension of the ban on importing agricultural products from Ukraine to additional items:

  • Soft fruits
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Honey
  • Apple concentrate
  • Eggs
  • Poultry meat

"Sekersky also confirmed that the embargo on Ukrainian products will continue indefinitely. The minister emphasized the need to help Ukraine without harming the profitability of Polish agriculture," the publication adds.

Border blockade in Poland

On November 6, Polish carriers initiated strikes at the border with Ukraine, intending to continue the action until the beginning of January 2024. During the protest, numerous routes were blocked, allowing no more than one truck in or out per hour. Additionally, the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing was later blocked.

On December 22, Ukrainian and Polish officials agreed on an action plan to lift the blockades at the border. Poland, on its part, planned to unblock the border by the end of 2023.

On December 24, Polish protesters ceased blocking the Medyka-Shehyni checkpoint for the holiday period. However, on January 4, the blockade of this crossing point was reinstated.