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Farmer Protests Spread Across Europe

Farmer protests have spread across the European Union — and further — in recent weeks, according to reporting from Reuters’ Sybille De La Hamaide and Gus Trompiz, with farmers “saying they are facing rising costs and taxes, red tape, excessive environmental rules and competition from cheap food imports.”

Demonstrations have been taking place for weeks in countries including France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Italy and Greece,” they reported.


In addition, the Associated Press reported that Czech farmers are meeting “their colleagues from neighboring Germany, Poland and Slovakia at a number of border crossings,” to stage protests on Thursday. “Farmers from 10 EU countries, ranging from Central Europe to the Baltics and the Balkans, were participating in the protest, organizers said.”


Farmer demonstrations have even spread beyond Europe, with farmers in India taking to the streets “seeking new legislation that would guarantee minimum prices for 23 crops,” the Associated Press’ Altaf Qadri and Krutika Pathi reported. “The farmers believe this would help stabilize their income.”


Protests in India

In addition to seeking guaranteed minimum crop prices, Qadri and Pathi reported that Indian farmers are “also pressing the government to follow through on promises to waive loans and withdraw legal cases brought against them during the earlier 2021 protests.”

“Several talks so far have failed to break the deadlock,” they reported. “But Arjun Munda, one of the ministers negotiating with the farmers, said they were willing to hold another round of discussions and that the government wanted to maintain peace.”

The protests have also turned violent at times, with the BBC reporting that “a protester has died as farmers attempted to resume their march on India’s capital after four rounds of talks with the federal government failed to end the deadlock.”

“Police had been firing teargas at the protesters as they attempted to move towards the border, BBC Punjabi reported. The farmers used masks, gloves and safety suits to protect themselves from the shelling.”

Protests in Greece

Some of the newest farmer protests in Europe are occurring in Greece, where Reuters’ Stelios Misinas is reporting that “thousands of farmers from across Greece descended on Athens’ central square on Tuesday, parking tractors in front of parliament in their biggest protest yet over rising costs.”

“Greek farmers dealing with high energy prices and production costs say they have also been hurt by climate change-driven weather, with unpredictable flooding, extreme heat and wildfires making their work ever more hazardous,” Misinas wrote. “They have been staging brief blockades of roads and border crossings for weeks while their unions have been negotiating with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ conservative government for more financial aid and other relief measures.”


Protests in Spain

New protests are also occurring in Spain, where the Associated Press’ Alicia León reports that “hundreds of farmers drove their tractors into central Madrid on Wednesday as part of ongoing protests against European Union and local farming policies and to demand measures to alleviate production cost hikes.”

“Farmers complain that the 27-nation EU’s policies on the environment and other matters are a financial burden and make their products more expensive than non-EU imports,” León wrote. “Spain and the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, have made some concessions in recent weeks but farmers say they are insufficient.”

What Governments are Doing

Some of the primary concessions to farmers have come from the European Commission itself, which De La Hamaide and Trompiz reported that “late last month proposed to limit agricultural imports from Ukraine by introducing an “emergency brake” for the most sensitive products – poultry, eggs and sugar – but producers say the volume would still be too high.”

In France, “Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced measures including controls to insure imported foods do not have traces of pesticides banned in France or the EU, and talks to get farmers higher prices and loosen bureaucracy and regulation,” they reported.

“In Romania, the government has acted to increase diesel subsidies, address insurance rates and expedite subsidy payments,” they wrote. “In Portugal, the caretaker government has announced an emergency aid package worth 500 million euros, including 200 million euros to mitigate the impact of a long-running drought.”

Ryan Hanrahan is the farm policy news editor and social media director for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked in local news, primarily as an agriculture journalist in the American West. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri (B.S. Science & Agricultural Journalism).

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