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Farmers Across Europe Protest, Urging Action From Ministers

Farmers across Europe protest, urging action from Ministers. The farmers blocked a border crossing between Poland and Germany, hurling bottles at police in Brussels, and assembling in Madrid to call for action against low supermarket prices and perceived unfair competition from overseas.

Author:Tyreece Bauer
Reviewer:Elisa Mueller
Feb 27, 2024
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Farmers across Europe protest, urging action from Ministers. The farmers blocked a border crossing between Poland and Germany, hurling bottles at police in Brussels, and assembling in Madrid to call for action against low supermarket prices and perceived unfair competition from overseas.
European Union agricultural ministers gathered in Brussels to address the sector's crisis following weeks of heated demonstrations, pledging to streamline regulations and provide more support to farmers.
We need a firm and positive gesture. The main problem is the income, we don't have a just price that would allow us to cover the costs. There is the administrative burden, the ignorance of those who make laws, everything changes so quickly that we do not have time to comply.- Caroline Jaspart, president of the Union of Women Farmers of Wallonia
The 27-member EU has already softened certain aspects of its prominent Green Deal environmental policies, eliminating a target to reduce farming emissions from its 2040 climate roadmap. However, farmers are pressing for further concessions.
"We're here again in Brussels today as farmers because the European Union is not listening to our demands. Our demands are for fair revenue," said Morgan Ody, general coordinator of farming organisation La Via Campesina.
"We produce the food and we don't make a living. Why is that? Because of free trade agreements. Because of deregulation. Because the prices are below the cost of production. So we demand the EU to move on this."
During the Brussels rally, riot police used water cannons against protesters who were hurling bottles and eggs. Meanwhile, approximately 900 tractors congested sections of the Belgian capital, near the restricted area where ministers were convening.
During a protest in Madrid, farmers from various regions of Spain sounded whistles, rang cowbells, and drummed, calling on the EU to ease regulations and reconsider certain alterations to its Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), including subsidies and other programs.
"It's impossible to put up with these rules, they want us to work in the field during the day and deal with paperwork at night - we're sick of the bureaucracy," said Roberto Rodriguez, who grows cereal and beetroots in the central province of Avila.

Imports From Ukraine

In Poland, farmers frustrated by inexpensive imports from non-EU Ukraine blocked the A2 highway at a border crossing with Germany. Two years ago, the EU opted to exempt duties on Ukraine's food exports as Kyiv contends with a Russian invasion.
"This is a show of common solidarity, that both Polish and German farmers will not allow these goods from Ukraine to continue to enter the European market," said Adrian Wawrzyniak, a spokesperson for the Solidarity farmers' union.
Belgian Agriculture Minister David Clarinval stated after the ministerial meeting that the EU is striving to discover a more efficient solution to ensure that agricultural products from Ukraine reach their traditional markets outside the EU.
The agriculture ministers also discussed a new series of suggestions to alleviate financial burdens on European farmers, such as reducing farm inspections and potentially exempting small farms from certain environmental standards. Clarinval mentioned that they urged the European Commission, the EU's executive body, to present more ambitious proposals for reducing bureaucracy.
The EU has been in talks with the South American countries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay, collectively forming the Mercosur bloc, regarding a trade deal. European farmers are concerned that this agreement could lead to the influx of cheap imports from nations with lower environmental standards.
Two people walking between rows of tractors used during the protest
Two people walking between rows of tractors used during the protest

Time At Desk

German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir emphasized the importance for the EU to guarantee that farmers can make decent earnings by choosing biodiversity and green practices. He described the current EU farm policy as a "bureaucracy monster."
"The average farmer spends a quarter of their time at their desks," he said.
Over the past few weeks, the EU has eliminated a target to reduce farming emissions from its 2040 climate plan, withdrawn a pesticide reduction law, and postponed a target for farmers to leave some land fallow to enhance biodiversity. At the Madrid protest, certain farmers expressed their desire to simply have the opportunity to utilize the same pesticides as their counterparts outside the EU, whose products are imported into the bloc.
"We want to compete with the same deck of cards," said Juan Carlos, a 54-year-old sunflower oil producer. "If they use a certain product (to fumigate), I want to be able to use the same one."
Grievances differ from nation to nation, and not all farmers advocate for the abolition of green regulations. Ody from La Via Campesina urged the EU to establish minimum support prices.
We are not against climate policies. But we know that in order to do the transition, we need higher prices for products because it costs more to produce in an ecological way.- Juan Carlos
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Tyreece Bauer

Tyreece Bauer

Author
A trendsetter in the world of digital nomad living, Tyreece Bauer excels in Travel and Cybersecurity. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and is a certified Cybersecurity professional. As a Digital Nomad, he combines his passion for exploring new destinations with his expertise in ensuring digital security on the go. Tyreece's background includes extensive experience in travel technology, data privacy, and risk management in the travel industry. He is known for his innovative approach to securing digital systems and protecting sensitive information for travelers and travel companies alike. Tyreece's expertise in cybersecurity for mobile apps, IoT devices, and remote work environments makes him a trusted advisor in the digital nomad community. Tyreece enjoys documenting his adventures, sharing insights on staying secure while traveling and contributing to the digital nomad lifestyle community.
Elisa Mueller

Elisa Mueller

Reviewer
Elisa Mueller, a Kansas City native, grew up surrounded by the wonders of books and movies, inspired by her parents' passion for education and film. She earned bachelor's degrees in English and Journalism from the University of Kansas before moving to New York City, where she spent a decade at Entertainment Weekly, visiting film sets worldwide. With over 8 years in the entertainment industry, Elisa is a seasoned journalist and media analyst, holding a degree in Journalism from NYU. Her insightful critiques have been featured in prestigious publications, cementing her reputation for accuracy and depth. Outside of work, she enjoys attending film festivals, painting, writing fiction, and studying numerology.
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