Polish farmers occupy Ministry of Agriculture and demand talks with Tusk after negotiation breakdown

The farmers during talks at the Ministry of Agriculture. (Source: Solidarność RI/topagrar.pl)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

Polish farmers have initiated a 48-hour sit-in at the Ministry of Agriculture, protesting what they describe as gross mistreatment after failed government negotiations.

Representatives of agricultural organizations, who participated in talks with the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MRiRW) on Tuesday, refused to leave the premises and announced the two-day strike.

The farmers, who in March had signed an agreement with Minister of Agriculture Czesław Siekierski and Deputy Minister Michał Kołodziejczak in Jasionka, arrived in Warsaw to enforce the agreements that were supposed to be implemented on April 1. The agreements include, among other provisions, a request for the Minister of Agriculture to appeal to Prime Minister Donald Tusk to halt the transit through Polish territory of agricultural products from Ukraine subject to embargo.

A total of 12 individuals barricaded themselves inside the ministry building, vowing to stay there for 48 hours, with more farmers expected to arrive demanding that Prime Minister Donald Tusk arrive for talks with them.

“We have been treated very badly because the prime minister did not show up. I think he will reconsider and come,” one of the protesters told Polsat News TV.

The Ministry of Agriculture issued a statement regarding the talks, highlighting that since the agreement in Jasionka, discussions and consultations have taken place at the ministerial level between Poland and Ukraine, as well as representatives of agricultural associations from both sides and an intergovernmental meeting.

“The agreements reached in Jasionka have been significantly implemented,” the statement added, listing issues related to the Green Deal and the principles of launching aid for cereal producers. “We maintain an embargo on imports to Poland of grains, corn, rapeseed, sunflower, flour, bran, and meal (…) from Ukraine, and we are working on maintaining the level of agricultural tax for 2023,” the statement added.

The ministry also noted that the Ukrainian side has announced a reduction of transit through Poland of its agricultural products from April to June. As Minister Siekierski stated, a series of actions require numerous inter-ministerial arrangements and specific procedures, which extend the implementation of the agreements.

However, these explanations have not entirely convinced the farmers. Twelve people spent the night in the ministry building, demanding a meeting with Donald Tusk. The occupation of the ministry will continue, “until appropriate regulations are established,” they said.

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