Romania’s government plans first measures for protesting farmers, truckers -media

(Reuters) – Romania’s government unveiled a first package of measures to aid farmers and truckers whose widening protests against high business costs have hit a border crossing with Ukraine and elsewhere in the country, local media reported on Thursday.

The more than week-long protests have blocked highways and snarled traffic in areas. Romanian farmers blocked a border crossing with Ukraine for a second time in as many days on Thursday.

The protests are against the high cost of diesel, insurance rates, European Union measures to protect the environment and pressures on the domestic market from imported Ukrainian agricultural goods.

The protesters want a moratorium on loan repayments, faster subsidy payments and separate lines at border crossings and the Black Sea port of Constanta for EU lorries and trucks from outside the bloc, including Ukraine.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu presented some of the first measures agreed with farmers and hauliers before a government meeting.

“We are approving a first package of measures agreed with farmers and transporters. It is clear that the protests were justified,” Ciolacu was quoted as saying by news website

The measures include compensation at 100 euros ($109) per hectare and up to 280,000 euros to farmers for losses suffered due to the war in Ukraine, along with some rule changes demanded by truckers, according to media reports.

A statement from some of the protesters on Wednesday said the demonstrations would continue “until we see the first law approved that enforces solutions for as many of the problems we have pointed out as possible.”

On Thursday, media reported Bucharest’s city hall approved a planned protest by farmers and transporters starting from Sunday.

The protests are not centrally coordinated, hampering negotiations with the coalition government, which faces local, parliamentary, presidential and European elections this year.

Truckers in Poland and Slovakia have also held protests at border points with Ukraine, demanding the EU reintroduce a permit system for Ukrainian competitors whom they say are undercutting business.

($1 = 0.9212 euros)

(Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk and Jason Hovet)