Hundreds of tractors roll into Prague as farmers protest against EU policy

Hundreds of tractors and other agricultural vehicles rolled into Prague on Monday as farmers protested against EU agriculture policies, which they consider unfair. 

The farming vehicles disrupted traffic, notably outside the Czech Republic Agriculture Ministry, where they planned to hand the minister a letter with their demands.

But major agricultural organisations distanced themselves from the rally after it turned out some organisers were behind recent pro-Russian demonstrations.

“This is a long shot from the organisers, many of whom, unfortunately, have nothing to do with agriculture at all. It is necessary to see that the political ambitions of some circles are to a large extent behind this protest,” said Agriculture Minister Marek Vyborny.

He added that he would much rather be having “a dialogue with the representatives of farmers, and it is always better to have a dialogue at the table than somewhere on the street or in the square.“

Farmers across several European countries have taken to the streets in recent weeks as they protest against the EU’s Green Deal which sets out agricultural regulations for the bloc’s 27 members for decades.

They say policies on the environment and other matters are a financial burden and make their products more expensive – and so less competitive – than non-EU imports.

Other Czech farming groups, including the Agrarian Chamber, the Agricultural Union and the Association of Private Agriculture, said they will join a joint protest against EU policies on Thursday.

The Agrarian Chamber said farmers plan to take their machinery to the frontier in convoys, though the demonstration will be symbolic rather than aiming to block the border.

They will be joined by farmers from Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Croatia.

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