Henryk Kowalczyk, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has resigned. He made the announcement during a statement on Wednesday.
The Deputy Prime Minister recalled that one of the points of the agreement with farmers signed last Wednesday was a commitment that the Polish government would apply to the European Commission to activate the safeguard clause on duty-free grain imports from Ukraine. – Such a request went on March 31 from the side of the Polish government, together with the governments of Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, while the European Commission published a draft to extend duty-free and quota-free grain imports from Ukraine for another year, which is to be in effect from June this year until June 5, 2024, Henryk Kowalczyk pointed out.
Kowalczyk’s resignation. Protesting farmers comment
Henryk Kowalczyk’s resignation was commented on by Stanislaw Barna, chairman of the farmers’ protest in Szczecin. – And what does the resignation help us? Now there will be excuses that: “give the minister 100 days”, there are no 100 days, there is a government, there is Prime Minister Morawiecki, we demand help here and now. We will not go down from here, that the minister will change, it is not yet known who it will be” he said in an interview with reporters.
In recent weeks there has been growing discontent among farmers, who have a number of concerns about government policy. A protest in front of the Provincial Office in Szczecin has been going on for several days, with farmers demanding, among other things, the regulation of grain from Ukraine. The protesters have set up a so-called “green town.
The demonstrating farmers have disrupted events with Kowalczyk in recent weeks. This was the case in Kielce, among other places, when the Agriculture Minister had to be evacuated from a hall during an agricultural fair after being surrounded by farmers who whistled and chanted vulgar slogans. Protesters also disrupted Kowalczyk’s speech during an agricultural forum in Jasionka. Some of the protesters threw eggs in the minister’s direction.