Polish farmers block major motorway near German border

Polish farmers block major motorway near German border

Farmers in Poland took their protests nationwide on Wednesday, following their blockade of a key highway at the Polish-German border with their tractors on Tuesday.

The demonstration in Swiecko, close to the German city of Frankfurt, forced German authorities to divert traffic from the motorway before the border, prompting the nearly 18,000 trucks a day that normally cross there to find alternative routes between Berlin and Warsaw.

At the A2 leading to the border crossings of Slubice and Kostrzyn, only emergency vehicles were allowed through the blockade.

Farmers say they will stay until Easter or even longer if their demands are unmet.

Poland was among the countries leading the charge against duty-free imports after Polish farmers blocked border crossings with Ukraine in February, spilling Ukrainian grain and burning tyres as they intensified a nationwide protest against the import of Ukrainian foods and European Union environmental policies.

The action comes as EU lawmakers agreed on Wednesday to renew Ukraine’s import rates while adding protective measures for agricultural products such as grain and honey to address the concerns of farmers across the 27-nation bloc.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Europe is currently storing over 20 million tonnes of excess grain, with nine million tonnes of the surplus located in Poland alone.