Protests by farmers in France demanding better prices for their products spread to Italy and Belgium

“Farmers die, politics sleep”: Farmers drive tractors during a protest against European agricultural policies at the Melegnano tollbooth near Milan, Italy (Reuters/Claudia Greco)

Farmers blocked more traffic routes on Wednesday belgiumFrance and Italy, to disrupt trade in major ports and other economic support points. He also traveled to Brussels on the eve of an important summit of European Unionone in Constant pressure to get better prices for your products and reduce bureaucracy in your work.

Although the days of unrest have been mostly peaceful, French police on Wednesday arrested a hundred protesters who stormed France’s largest food market. EuropeAccording to the police chief of Paris, Armored vehicles block the entrances to the expansive complex RungisSouth of the French capital.

Protests on Wednesday had immediate impact: The The European CommissionEU’s executive branch announces plan to protect farmers from cheap exports ukraine During wartime and allowing farmers to use some of the land they were forced to leave fallow for environmental reasons.

A delegation of the Young Belgian Farmers Association blocked a highway between Paris and Brussels in Halle, on the outskirts of the Belgian capital (AP).

The plans must still be approved by 27 member states European ParliamentBut they represent a sudden and symbolic concession.

“I just want to assure you that we will do everything possible to listen to your concerns. “I think we’re addressing two very important (concerns) for them right now,” said Maros Sefcovic, vice president of the International Monetary Fund. The European Commission.

The rallies are part of farm protests across the EU and highlight how a few hundred tractors can disrupt traffic in capitals Berlin, Paris, Brussels and Rome, Millions of people across the block have faced disruptions and found it difficult to get to work, or have had their doctors’ appointments canceled because protests blocked their way.

“Obviously this has a huge economic impact. Not only for our company, but for many companies flanders And belgium“, declared Sven Peters of transport company ECS from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. the North Sea.

Belgian farmers block Achterhaven, part of Zeebrugge port, with their tractors (Reuters/Johanna Geron)

In FranceHe Gerald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, record 100 protests all over the country, in which some people participated 10,000 farmersand warned nearby farmers Paris Any attempt to block the market Rungis and airports, and entry into the capital will be considered “red lines”.

Protesters held up a large banner on the A6 motorway in the south of the French capital, reading: “Paris, let our farmers go.”

Main attractions in belgium Scheduled for Thursday, when farmers plan to protest at the headquarters European Union during a summit of Government leader. They will try to get their issues on the summit agenda and extract some concessions on the financial burden they face and increasing competition from far-flung countries. chili And new zealand,

The Belgian Prime Minister declared, “It is important that we listen to them.” alexander de crew, “They face huge challenges, from adapting to climate change to fighting environmental pollution,” he said.

Members of the French Gendarmerie stand near armored vehicles while tractors are deployed on the A6 motorway during a protest in the Chili-Mazarin area near Paris, France, in this January 31, 2024 photo (Reuters/Abdul Sabour)

Belgium currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, and De Croo said so This issue will be addressed at the last moment during the summit An agenda focused on providing more aid in the form of a large-scale invasion of Ukraine Russia It’s almost been two years.

President of France, Emmanuel Macronsaid he wants Suspend free trade agreements with South American countries Due to strong opposition from EU farmers and will address this issue at the summit.

Despite widespread discomfort, EU governments are exercising extreme caution over the protests, which have been largely peaceful.

A doll bearing the face of French President Emmanuel Macron is displayed in front of a tractor on the A1 motorway in Chenevières-les-Louvres, near Paris, France (Reuters/Benoit Tessier)

Spanish farmers were also going to participate in the protest. The three main Spanish farming unions agreed to launch protests in the coming weeks to demand changes to the EU’s highly restrictive policies.

In FranceProtesters tried to feed each other and keep their sanity by camping for days on grassy streets en route to Paris.

Protester Franck Chardon offers fresh croissants to some police officers near his protest tractor in Chilly-Mazarin, east of Paris, on Wednesday. “French croissants made with French flour are of high quality,” he said. “So we’re going to deliver croissants and they’ll let us go… I see you’re not happy,” he warned. Undaunted, he tried again: “Will you open the cordon so we can pass through with our tractors?”


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