“Tractor fever” spreads in EU – farmers step up blockades, emergency summit on Thursday

Farmers' mobilization in several European countries is forcing the EU to discuss the crisis in the sector at a summit tomorrow.

Belgians, but also farmers from various European countries (France, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland) have been protesting for weeks against, among others, the “contradiction of European policies”, the accumulation of complex environmental rules, unfair competition from abroad and their low incomes. In a large-scale demonstration in Brussels, agricultural unions from Spain, Italy and Portugal joined Belgian farmers in their voices.

Tomorrow's meeting of the European Council, attended by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, will focus mainly on the Ukraine issue, but the farmers' crisis that has blocked major national roads in various European countries will also be on the agenda. .

Ursula van der Leyen's “Triple” for Farmers

In a sign of concern in Brussels about the mass mobilization of farmers in EU countries, Ursula van der Leyen's “dribbling” to calm spirits is to allow EU farmers to benefit from the 2024 deregulation. The Common Agricultural Policy obliges them to keep certain areas unproductive.

The Commission's proposal, sent to member states today, provides the first concrete policy response to address farmers' income concerns.

At the same time, tonight the commission made another maneuver: it announced that farmers will also be exempted from the mandatory quota measure in 2024. In this way, based on the proposal of the European Commission, according to the regulation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP 2023-2027), producers can cultivate normally the areas that should not be cultivated.

Belgian farmers have marched into Brussels – a stone's throw from the EU building

Considering tomorrow's summit, Belgians Farmers marched with hundreds of tractors into Brussels, a stone's throw from the EU building, insisting that tomorrow they want to send “a clear message to leaders” that their demands should be taken seriously.

The first convoys of tractors started arriving in Brussels this evening, headed for the European Quarter, with some of the city's exit and entry points already closed. During the night from Wednesday to Thursday, some farmers will already stop going to Brussels from 1:00 am, Florian Ponselet, president of the Federation of Young Farmers (FJA), told Belga. Most of the tractors are expected to head towards Schumann Square, where the Commission and European Council buildings are located, by 10am (local time), as well as towards the Place du Luxembourg outside the European Parliament, where markings and speeches will take place. .

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The “general siege” of Brussels announced by the head of the FJA is expected to last until at least 5pm. However, the leaders of the FJA and the agricultural federation Fugea are warning that if the farmers do not get the victory they are asking for on Thursday, their actions will continue in the European capital the next day.

Meanwhile, police officials in the capital city of Brussels are warning of serious traffic problems in the city center and on the outskirts, and are recommending that residents avoid traveling by car and prefer the metro as a means of public transport.

Belgian farmers blocked access to roads to the port of Zeebrugge for another day. A coordinator of the protest said that more than 100 tractors were involved in the blockade.

Farmers have also started blocking lorries entering and exiting the port of Antwerp, Europe's second largest port, a spokeswoman for the Port of Antwerp said. A roadblock has also been set up on a major highway in Belgium.

Commission backlash: Allow EU farmers to opt out of certain farming rules for one year

Mitsotakis went to the peasant block in Vonitsa: “You will not become waiters, you will not go to Germany”

Italy: Farmers block a toll booth outside Brescia

About seventy Italians Today (31/1) farmers protested with their tractors outside the town of Brescia in northern Lombardy, blocking a customs post.

They are protesting against the European policy in the agricultural sector and against the approach of the big Italian agricultural associations, because they feel that they are not acting in time to protect their main interests.

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The main demands of Italian farmers at this stage were an increase in the total price of their products and a reduction in bureaucracy.

Traffic was temporarily blocked throughout the southern part of the city of Brescia. A short time ago it was possible to allow vehicles to pass through the toll road again, but the protesters announced that they would continue their demonstrations in the coming days.

In Italy, farmers blocked traffic with hundreds of tractors at highway entrances and exits near Milan, Tuscany and other areas in recent days.

France: Macron pulls out armored vehicles

In France, tensions are rising between the government and farmers, who have decided to block major highways and march into central Paris. Their mobilizations have also affected the countries they border (Belgium, Spain), with the government putting armored vehicles on the streets to protect a food market in Paris.

Some farmers were able to enter the market, police issued 79 citations for obstructing traffic, and 15 were arrested.

However, protests will continue and police forces are expected to increase in Paris tomorrow. However, public opinion is clearly on the side of the farmers as 79% of people in a poll said they want the mobilization to continue.

Next to the farmers, children in Strasbourg came out with tractors and pallets to support their efforts.

Spanish, Belgian and German peasants in the streets

The Spanish They took to the streets in an attempt to pressure the government to loosen environmental regulations and protect against rising prices and cheap imports.

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at Germany People's marches have intensified in major cities of the country for the past two weeks. There was chaos in the area as more than 1,500 tractors blocked the port in Hamburg. The main demand of the country's farmers is to withdraw the decision to cancel the agricultural oil subsidy.

Mitsotakis is blocked in Vonitsa

In Greece, mobilizations continue. At midday on Wednesday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was in Vonitsa for the inauguration of the Aktio-Ambrakia road axis, visited the farmers' constituency and spoke to them.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who listened to the demands of the farmers, told them, “You will not be a worker or go to Germany,” responding to the last comment of the farmers' representative, Mr. A plan, say, we'll do commando too, or become waiters, or leave for Germany.''

Tractors on the streets in Cordica

Plains farmers “march” with their tractors in Karditsa town, honking their horns and lighting lamps.

Earlier, in the afternoon, EO Curditsa-Trigalon 40-45 minutes after 1:30 p.m. in the index exclusion, the farmers of Agandero, Megala Galivia and Clino Trigalon, have taken their agricultural machinery in this place, as part of the ongoing agricultural mobilizations in the surrounding area.

The demands of the farmers' assembly in Karditsa are common to those of other constituencies set up in Thessaly and other parts of the country and that compensation should be provided immediately to the affected farmers and breeders. Reducing production costs by introducing an excise tax on oil and cheap rural electricity, but building anti-flood works to prevent a repeat of the disaster they suffered by losing their produce and livestock.

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