“Democratic parties have ignored farmers’ problems for too long”

DMany European farmers are furious. The anger is not new, but the barrel has overflowed. Frustration is expressed in cities and on social networks. Anger has long been building on farms and villages against “those above”against the ” policy “, against the government, against the European Union (EU). Despair reigns among many farmers who can no longer cope with the overload of work, the increase in costs, the precariousness of income, the dependence on subsidies and agricultural companies, the absence perspective of succession for their farms and new regulations emanating from capitals and Brussels.

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The exasperation is largely justified, but it is heading into dangerous territory, towards the abyss of anti-democratic, anti-European, racist – in some cases fascist – saviors. These well-funded saviors are thriving, because they offer the simplest answers. Everything must disappear. The government, the EU, environmentalists, the climate crisis. Increasingly large parts of Europe’s rural population and entire countries, such as Hungary and, to some extent, Italy, are on this ground – Trump doesn’t seem far away anymore.

In Germany, the government coalition made up of socialists, ecologists and liberals (the Ampel coalition) put thousands of tractors on the road by canceling subsidies for agricultural diesel. In early January, the German Farmers’ Association (Deutscher Bauernverband, DBV) called for protests “like Germany has never seen”, as its president, Joachim Rukwied, had threatened before Christmas. Roadblocks organized by the DBV on motorway ramps and sensitive intersections disrupted traffic in many cities for weeks. Despite officially distancing itself from the AfD party, signs of far-right infiltration into protests and on social media cannot be ignored.

Dealing with chaos

As in France, extremist parties are developing in the Netherlands, Lithuania and Belgium, using the unease of the rural population to glean votes. We saw this on January 24, with the participation of Marion Maréchal alongside the Rural Coordination, the Irish Farmers Alliance, the Farmers Defense Force Belgium, in the event entitled “Fight against the war of the European Union [UE] against agriculture »at the call of the Mathias Corvinus Collegium, an institute financed by the Hungarian government of Viktor Orban.

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