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Will Europe be able to take care of farmers?

Ще успее ли Европа да се погрижи за фермерите?

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Tuesday he could not rule out extending the country's ban on Ukrainian grain imports to other products if the European Union did not act to protect the bloc's markets.

Tusk made the remarks during a visit to Prague as thousands of Polish farmers took to the streets of Warsaw, carrying the national flag and blowing horns, escalating a protest against food imports from Ukraine and the EU's green rules.

Farmers across Europe have been protesting for weeks against restrictions imposed on them by EU Green Deal regulations aimed at tackling climate change, as well as rising costs and what they say is unfair competition from outside the EU. especially Ukraine.

In 2022, the EU lifted tariffs on Ukrainian food imports following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Last year, Poland extended the ban on imports of Ukrainian grain.

"We are talking about this with the Ukrainian side - that it will be necessary to extend the embargo to other products if the European Union does not find more effective ways to protect the European and Polish markets," Tusk said on Tuesday.

One of the organizers of the protest, Szczepan Wojcik announced that "the new protests in Warsaw are scheduled for March 6. Farmers are already organizing on the roads and the border posts will continue to be blocked,” he said.

Asked about the possibility of further escalation, Wojciech said: “Farmers are desperate. … The ball is in the government's court.”

Earlier, Tusk said that the EU must solve the problems created by its decision to open its borders to imports of Ukrainian food products.

He added that Poland is ready to co-finance the purchase of Polish, European and Ukrainian food and agricultural products to be sent as humanitarian aid to famine-stricken countries and that "Europe must certainly find funds for this".

In Poland, farmers rallied in the center of Warsaw before marching to parliament and then to Tusk's office. A city hall official quoted by state news agency PAP put the number of protesters at around 10,000.

"We are protesting because we want the 'green deal' to be scrapped as it will bankrupt our farms with costs ... which are not comparable to what we harvest and what we are paid," said Kamil Wojciechowski, 31 , a farmer from Izbycza Kujawska in Central Poland.

"What we are paid for our work has decreased because of the flow of grain from Ukraine, and this is our second demand - to block the flow of grain from Ukraine," he said.

"We will not give up. We do not have another choice. Our farms will go bankrupt, we will lose our livelihood," said Pawel Walkowiak, 47, a corn and wheat farmer from Konażewo in western Poland.

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