EU member states on Wednesday backed a push from Brussels for "safeguards" to stop cheap Ukrainian farm imports from flooding the market amid angry demonstrations in Poland.

Polish farmers have been blockading routes out of Ukraine to protest what they call "uncontrolled" imports and demand a change to EU agricultural policy.

The 27-nation bloc dropped tariffs on Ukrainian imports in 2022 in a bid to help keep Kyiv's economy afloat after Russia invaded.

The European Commission, the EU's executive, last month introduced a proposal to extend the tariff-free entry for another year from June.

But it also called for "safeguards" to stop imports driving down prices at the expense of Europe's own farmers.

The commission's proposal envisions "quick remedial action... in case of significant disruptions to the EU market".


For the most sensitive products -- poultry, eggs and sugar -- an "emergency brake" would be used to stop future imports from rising beyond the average volumes of 2022 and 2023.

A European diplomat said that the proposal "was widely supported, with the exception of the 'frontline' member states" bordering Ukraine, such as Poland.

"There was a lot of understanding in the room for the situation in these member states, in particular seeing what is happening in Poland," the diplomat said.

After the greenlight from the majority of member states the proposal will now have to be negotiated with EU lawmakers before it can go into force.

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The blockade of Ukraine's border by Polish farmers has drawn ire from Kyiv's government as its troops struggle to hold back Moscow's forces on the battlefield.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday proposed a meeting with the Polish government to try to solve the dispute, which he said only benefitted the Kremlin.

Roads into Poland, an EU member, have been an export lifeline for Ukraine, which is also relying on imported Western military aid to keep fending off Russia's offensive.


The protests in the country come amid wider demonstrations by farmers across Europe against cheap imports and green policies perceived as costly.

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