Romanian Farmers, Drivers Protest as Negotiations Continue

Farmers are demanding faster subsidy payments and compensation for losses caused by imports from Ukraine.

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BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romanian truck drivers and farmers protested across the country again on Monday as negotiations with the coalition government over lower taxes, higher subsidies and other demands failed to reach any agreements.

Long convoys of trucks and tractors disrupted traffic on the outskirts of Bucharest and other cities throughout the European Union nation. It was the sixth straight day of demonstrations.

Farmers are demanding faster subsidy payments, compensation for losses caused by imports from neighboring Ukraine, and more state aid for fuel costs, among other demands. Truck drivers are calling for lower tax and insurance rates and have complained about lengthy waiting times at the borders.

Meetings between the protesters and the agriculture and transport ministries were held over the weekend but no agreements were reached. The demonstrators on Saturday also caused brief blockades at the border with Ukraine in the northeast, Ukrainian border authorities said on Telegram.

On Monday, Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu called for an "urgent drafting" of legislation to resolve the protesters' complaints.

"We continue to negotiate in good faith with the protesters. We are fully open to dialogue," Ciolacu said in a meeting with ministers involved in negotiating with the protesters, according to a statement issued by his office.

The Alliance for Agriculture and Cooperation sent a document to the agricultural ministry on Monday listing 15 demands ahead of a planned meeting between the parties later in the day.

If the ministry fails to meet a series of deadlines, the alliance will "urgently initiate" steps to expand the protests, the document said.

Romania's national traffic police advised drivers to avoid areas where protests are being held to help ease traffic flows.

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