Demonstrators took part in a protest, organized by the 'Solidarnosc' trade union, against the 'Green Deal' on the streets of Warsaw, Poland, 10 May 2024. The demonstration, under the slogan 'Down with the Green Deal', has been organized by NSZZ 'Solidarity ' and NSZZ Individual Farmers 'Solidarity' to protest increasing EU environmental regulations on farmers. EPA-EFE/PAWEL SUPERNAK


Journalists barred from Polish Parliament over ‘anti-Green Deal’ T-shirts


Two journalists were refused entry to the Polish Parliament for wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Down with the Green Deal” amid protests in Warsaw against the EU environmental measures.

Both reporters said to have been denied entry on May 10 were accredited staff members with the weekly magazine and online portal Tygodnik Solidarność, which is linked to the Solidarity trade union movement involved in the demonstrations.

They were attempting to gain entry to the Parliament to cover the official handing-over of a 150,000-signature petition organised by the union against the Green Deal.

One of the two journalists was Michał Ossowski, the editor-in-chief of Tygodnik Solidarnośc, who was reportedly stopped while accompanying the leader of Solidarity Piotr Duda.

The trade union’s leader was also said to be wearing a T-shirt with the same slogan, but was allowed entry to hand over the petition to the Speaker of the Sejm (Polish parliament), Szymon Hołownia.

Ossowski tried to cover his T-shirt with a jacket but to no avail. He later published on his publication’s social media account details of the verbal exchange that took place between himself and a Parliament official.

In the exchange, he reportedly asked why he was being prevented from entering the building when the Solidarity leader was not, despite wearing the same T-shirt.

According to Ossowski, he was then told that, as a journalist, he “should not be expressing an opinion” but that Duda, as a union leader, had the right to do so.

When Ossowski countered that, as a citizen, he had a “ right to express his opinion” the official allegedly replied he was being “provocative”. The reporter countered that the slogan on his T-shirt was not vulgar or insulting and queried whether wearing a religious symbol would also be considered “provocative”.

The official replied that “religious symbols are covered by separate legislation and regulations” and added that “it was the job of MPs for whom people vote to express opinions in parliament and not for visitors”.

The incident came as tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Warsaw’s City Square and marched to Parliament in protest against the Green Deal, waving banners such as “Down with the Green Deal” and “Let Brussels eat worms; we prefer pork chop and potatoes” the latter being a reference to attempts at ending “traditional” meat production.

A giant figure of the Grim Reaper wearing the EU flag as an armband was also paraded on a trailer.

Solidarity union leader Dominik Kolorz told financial portal that the Green Deal affected “all Polish families”.

“We are already paying more for energy and the sad effects of climate policy are already visible in the automotive industry, whereever more plants are announcing layoffs.”

Kolorz confirmed that Solidarity wanted the Green Deal to be “thrown into the dustbin” and a national referendum be held on the issue.

The legislation aims to make the EU carbon neutral by 2050 and was approved by the European Parliament in 2020.

Since then, mass protests by farmers in Poland and across the EU have led national governments, including Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s administration, to seek changes in the measures in a bid to soften their impact, including the suspension and/or withdrawal of many provisions affecting the agri sector.

The lead opposition group, the Law and Justice party (PiS), is firmly opposed to the Green Deal, despite the fact that when it was in government led by former PM Mateusz Morawiecki it had acquiesced to the measures.

Like Solidarity, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group member is now arguing that the Green Deal will not just adversely affect farmers but will have a huge negative impact on energy prices and the automotive industry.