Polish minister to sign deal with farmers blocking Shehyni-Medyka crossing

Polish Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski is expected to sign an agreement with farmers blocking the Shehyni-Medyka crossing with Ukraine on Jan. 6 in a bid to lift the blockade, Rzeczpospolita reported.

Since November, Polish truckers have been blocking three crossings with Ukraine in protest of the EU’s liberalization of transit rules for Ukrainian truckers.

Polish farmers also launched a blockade at a fourth crossing near Medyka, first between Nov. 23 and Dec. 24 and then again between Jan. 4 and Feb. 3.

The minister, who should arrive in Rzeszow to finalize the deal with the “Betrayed Countryside” group organizing the protest, agreed to three of the farmers’ demands: corn subsidies, higher loans for the agricultural sector, and no tax increase, the Polish newspaper said.

Farmers have also asked to expand the import ban on Ukrainian agricultural products to items like sugar, eggs, and poultry. Rzeczpospolita did not say whether Warsaw plans to accommodate this demand as well.

Imports of Ukrainian sugar, eggs, and poultry sparked worries among European farmers, and a Polish EU Commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski, said he would demand a bloc-wide restriction on these products.

The border crisis that enters its third month continues to put pressure on Ukrainian-Polish relations, already strained by disputes over grain imports last fall.

Protests organized by Polish truckers and farmers caused huge lines on the border and negatively impacted Ukraine’s economy amid an all-out war with Russia.

According to Rzeczpospolita, lifting the Shehyni-Medyka blockade could create a positive dynamic and help to unblock other crossings as well.

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