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March 1, 2024 (EIRNS)—Prime Minister Donald Tusk met with representatives of the protesters in Warsaw yesterday. Both Tusk and farmers’ leaders afterwards suggested the talks had been positive, with the Prime Minister saying that his government would lobby Brussels to suspend or withdraw parts of the EU’s planned “Green Deal” relating to agriculture, and advocate an embargo on agricultural products from Russia and Belarus.

During a press conference after the meeting, Tusk highlighted that the government and farmers have a common goal of protecting Polish and European markets from the “unfair” and “crushing” consequences of the “ill-advised” decision to liberalize trade with Ukraine after Russia’s invasion.

“Ukrainian grain cannot flow duty-free and like a wide river into Poland,” he said, adding that, while Ukraine must be helped in its defense against Russian aggression, “the victims of this war must not be Polish farmers.”

Tusk, a former president of the European Council, said he was confident that he could negotiate a change of the EU’s position on the Green Deal.

He outlined that the demands of the Polish side—the protesters and the government—would be that “practically all” provisions in the Green Deal relating to agriculture “must be suspended and withdrawn.”

Tusk also referred to the possibility of closing the border with Ukraine to all trade, an idea he raised yesterday. “This is not a dream scenario,” and would “have mutual consequences,” but “we must keep this possibility in mind if our demands do not resonate in Brussels and on the Ukrainian side,” he warned. If implemented, this solution would concern only the movement of goods, not humanitarian and military transport, added Tusk.

Andrzej Sobociński, a farmer who attended the talks, told TVN that Tusk had “listened to all the arguments from the representatives of the grassroots protests,” and that they had had a “very constructive conversation.”