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Polish farmers protest ‘harmful’ EU environmental rules

Protesting Polish farmers want a referendum on forcing the country to reject the EU's Green Deal
Protesting Polish farmers want a referendum on forcing the country to reject the EU's Green Deal - Copyright AFP/File Eric BARADAT
Protesting Polish farmers want a referendum on forcing the country to reject the EU's Green Deal - Copyright AFP/File Eric BARADAT

Polish farmers on Friday rallied against EU environmental regulations they said were hurting the economy and called for a referendum on the issue.

The “Down with the Green Deal” protest drew several thousands of farmers in yellow vests to downtown Warsaw, where they waved Polish flags and union banners, handed out apples and carried signs showing skulls and bones.

The European Union’s Green Deal is an ambitious commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, making the 27-nation bloc the “first climate-neutral continent”.

But it has come under fire from the fossil fuel industry and the agricultural sector, as well as from political parties on the right and far right.

“We don’t agree to all the Green Deal provisions, which are harmful to Poland’s economy,” said Adrian Wawrzyniak, a spokesman for the Solidarity farmers’ union.

“We want a referendum in Poland on a requirement for the president, the parliament and the government to reject the Green Deal,” he told AFP.

Some protesters also condemned Ukrainian farm imports they said were undermining their revenues, as well as the policies of Poland’s current pro-EU coalition government, which came to power late last year.

The right-wing opposition party Law and Justice (PiS), which has close ties with the Solidarity union, also took part in the protest.

Blowing horns and banging drums, the participants walked from the Polish capital’s historic Castle Square to the European Commission’s representation in Poland.

The march, which included a large figure of the Grim Reaper and banners that read “No to EU dictatorship”, concluded outside the parliament.

Protest representatives met with parliament speaker Szymon Holownia to air their grievances and both sides said the talks went well. 

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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