EU plan to ease farmers' fallow land requirement stalls on detail

  • World
  • Friday, 15 Mar 2024

A drone view of farmer's tractors blocking a speedway from Lublin to Warsaw, as they protest against the European Union's Green Deal and imports of Ukrainian agricultural products, on the outskirts of Warsaw in Wiazowna, Poland, March 6, 2024. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

WARSAW (Reuters) - European policymakers' plan to replace a requirement for farmers to leave land fallow with a voluntary scheme has been held up by disagreement on details, the agriculture commissioner said on Friday on a visit to Warsaw.

Polish farmers have been among those that have staged weeks of protest across the European Union, to press a series of demands, including removing restrictions placed on them by the EU's Green Deal plan to tackle climate change as they say they cannot afford them.

Poland's farmers have a particular grievance because of increased competition from Ukraine's farmers, who they say have flooded the EU with cheap imports that leave them unable to compete.

"I planned this meeting with you in such a way that it was to be held simultaneously with the publication... of the European Commission's proposal regarding changes to the act in the Common Agricultural Policy, but this publication will be delayed," EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski told reporters on the visit to his native Poland.

He said publication had been held up by a dispute over the timing of some changes, but that there should be an announcement in a matter of hours rather than days.

Wojciechowski has faced calls to quit from all sides of the political spectrum in Poland, with farmers blaming him for the policies they oppose.

The European Commission is expecially anxious to quell opposition from farmers ahead of European Parliament elections in June in which the far right, for whom farmers represent a growing constituency, is seen making gains.

Wojciechowski said the proposals would replace an obligation to rotate crops for farms between 10 and 30 hectares with a different scheme. Member states would also be able to exclude farms of up to 10 hectares from environmental inspections.

(Reporting by Anna Koper, writing by Alan Charlish, editing by Nick Macfie and Barbara Lewis)

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