WARSAW (Reuters) -Polish farmers from the Solidarity trade union plan a general strike starting next Friday with a blockade of border crossings between Poland and Ukraine, it said, joining similar protests all over Europe.
Farmers in France, Belgium, Portugal, Greece and Germany have been protesting against the constraints placed on them by EU measures to tackle climate change, as well as rising costs and unfair competition from abroad. Polish farmers have been particularly vocal about the impact of cheap food imports from neighbouring Ukraine.
"Our patience has run out. Brussels' position on the last day of January 2024 is unacceptable for our entire agricultural community," the trade union said in a statement dated Thursday.
"Additionally, the passivity of the Polish authorities... regarding the import of agricultural produce and food products from Ukraine leave us with no other choice but to declare a general strike."
The European Commission said it was listening closely to the concerns expressed by farmers in protests taking place in several member states.
"In relation to the specific concerns outlined by farmers at the present time, the Commission is assessing possible next steps," a spokesperson for the Commission wrote in an emailed response to Reuters' request for comment.
Solidarity said that, apart from the blockade of crossings with Ukraine, it planned on-off blockades of roads throughout the country between Feb. 9 and March 10.
Poland's agriculture ministry did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.
A separate organisation of Polish farmers earlier blocked a key border crossing with Ukraine, but the protest was suspended on Jan. 6 after the new government agreed to its demands.
European farmers' frustration came to a head in Brussels on Thursday, when farmers threw eggs at the European Parliament and started fires as they demanded EU leaders do more to help them.
(Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Additional reporting by Piotr Lipinski; Editing by Nick Macfie and Christina Fincher)