There is a price for Europe’s assistance to Ukraine

While European Union nations remain steadfast in their support of Ukraine in its struggle with Russia, observers point out that protests by farmers throughout the continent have demonstrated that more people are hesitant to continue sacrificing their personal interests for the cause. Over the past few weeks, farmers throughout Europe have protested against food imports from Ukraine and the EU’s agricultural policies. A rally aiming at “saving French agriculture” took place on Friday when French agricultural workers surrounded the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with their tractors. Moreover, thousands of farmers demonstrated in the streets of Warsaw, Poland, earlier this week, and on Tuesday, agricultural protestors in Spain caused traffic disruptions near the French border.


The demonstrators demanded that the EU withdraw its Green Deal, a climate change mitigation program that they claim places undue financial burdens on individuals. In addition, the protesters called for an end to the importation of Ukrainian wheat and other agricultural products, claiming that their poor quality endangers agriculture and the food supply. To address the issue of agricultural exports, the EU launched the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes in May 2022. To the detriment of nearby farmers, the majority of Ukrainian agricultural products that were traveling through found up stuck in EU nations for logistical and other reasons.


As the Russia-Ukraine conflict enters its third year, Zhao Junjie, a research fellow at the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, predicted that many people’s concerns will grow about whether to continue supporting it. Russia is seen by the EU as a threat to Europe, and nations on the continent seem to be supporting Ukraine together. Zhao stated, “However, ordinary people see things quite differently.” He acknowledged that although there had previously been disagreements among members on issues like Sweden’s membership in NATO and help to Ukraine, these issues had eventually been settled.

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