A protest by Czech farmers against European agricultural policy has begun in Prague, causing traffic disruptions in the Czech capital.

This was reported by Radio Prague International.

On Monday, February 19, Czech farmers arrived in Prague on 500 tractors. The protest action was organized by trade union activists. The head of the Free Trade Union Association, Bohumir Dufek, stated that the main demand of the farmers is for the Czech Republic to reject the “Green Deal for Europe” plan. Trade union activists want to hand over their list of demands to the country’s Minister of Agriculture, Marek Vyborny.

Vyborny stated that he understands the problems of farmers but criticized the organizers of the protest. According to him, the farmers are primarily pursuing political goals, and the minister does not want to discuss changes in the agricultural sector with them.

For these reasons, major industry organizations in the Czech Republic, including the Chamber of Agriculture, the Agricultural Union, and the Association of Private Farmers, distanced themselves from this protest action.

The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Petr Fiala, also responded to these protests. He stated that “the demonstration has little to do with fighting for better conditions for farmers.” According to him, among the organizers are people who do not hide their support for the Kremlin.

Reasons for strikes at checkpoints

The protests by farmers have been ongoing for many weeks. They claim that it is related to the decision of the European Commission to extend the suspension of import duties for agricultural goods from Ukraine until 2024. Hungarian farmers joined the Poles and staged a protest near the “Zahony” checkpoint on the border with Ukraine. The strikers insist that products coming from outside the European Union should be subject to the same rules as EU farmers, and Brussels should protect the interests of its own farmers, “rather than trying to destroy the European countryside with its actions”.

Protesters also complain that Ukraine allegedly exports products with an increased GMO content, and they oppose this. However, it is worth noting that the true reasons for border blockades are more political than economic. The organizers of the blockade in Poland, the recently created “Committee for the Protection of Carriers and Employers in the Transport Industry”, claim that the action is economic and not political. However, their actions have not found support among the authorities and other organizations of carriers. Nevertheless, the protest is being actively supported by the consistent anti-Ukrainian and anti-European party “Konfederacja”, whose representatives are the most vocal in expressing anti-Ukrainian statements, fighting against Ukrainian refugees in the media, and already billing for assistance to Ukraine and its citizens.

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