Farmers' protests will not end soon. “We are not interested in constant conversations, we want specifics” (INTERVIEW)

Luc Williams

Farmers' expectations

On Friday, the government will present the solutions prepared by Brussels for EU farmers. What proposals do you expect?

I don't think anything will be on the table that we could consider a breakthrough. Our demands have been constant and clear for a long time, but Brussels' position also seems to be stable. The only thing they can announce is the abandonment of the 4% fallow obligation. land and abandoning the ban on the use of pesticides. Perhaps they will add that they are still working on other demands and need more time to present further proposals.

By “leaving”, do you mean temporarily suspending these restrictions or permanently abandoning them?

They will certainly at least temporarily suspend them, and perhaps it will actually turn out that we are moving away from these regulations permanently. If Brussels agreed to this, it would be a certain success for our government, for which they would deserve a plus.

What will be changed in the Green Deal?

Which provisions in the Green Deal are realistic to change in the medium or long term, and which ones will probably remain?

Without personnel changes in EU bodies that make the most important decisions, there will be no breakthrough. For now, we are dealing with a certain ideological view of the world, which results in a restrictive approach to the issue of emissions. EU restrictions apply not only to agriculture, but also to transport, energy, mining, industry… A broad change in the policy guided by Brussels is needed, and this change will not take place without replacing the President of the European Commission, commissioners and MEPs.

There are elections to the European Parliament in June. Could a new political class emerge?

I don't think so. However, I think that this pro-environmental trend will slow down a bit. It will not stop, but it will slow down because politicians will be less susceptible to listening to the voices and pressure from non-governmental organizations, ecologists and similar movements. There is a lot of resistance among Europeans towards this ideological direction, so I think that politicians will be a bit less radical.

What should the Polish government do?

What are your expectations regarding the actions of the Polish government? Does further pressure on Prime Minister Tusk make sense?

I would like to emphasize that we are not fighting the Polish government and we are not protesting against it. We want to put pressure on them so that they put pressure on Brussels. I can say on my own behalf that our cooperation with the current government is going well – there is a mutual willingness to talk, ministers and government representatives are not afraid to meet us, either in their offices or on the streets. However, we are not interested in meeting for coffee and constant conversations. We want specifics.

Further protests by farmers

Is that why you're staying on the streets for now?

We stay because we can't back out now. We don't want the issue to get diluted, we need to keep putting pressure on the government and Brussels. Realistically, I don't see a possible solution at the moment to get farmers off the streets. Moreover, I am very afraid that some of the most desperate farmers – those who have no money to buy means of production or to refuel agricultural machinery – will become radicalized. I'm afraid the riots will escalate.

When is the next nationwide protest?

The next nationwide demonstrations are planned for March 20. This will be a series of blockades of cities, towns and roads – both local and national. Each group of farmers will coordinate protests locally, in some large cities there will be protests in front of provincial offices, in smaller towns in front of municipal offices. I wish the government and us, farmers, to reach an agreement as soon as possible, for specifics to emerge, and for us to return to agricultural work instead of standing on the streets.


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