Protests in Spain continue: France is accommodating farmers with reform

Protests in Spain continue
France is accommodating farmers with reform

In Madrid, hundreds of farmers partially paralyzed traffic to protest against insufficient state aid and EU requirements. Meanwhile, France is announcing a legal reform that is intended to strengthen the position of its farmers and provide them with better security.

The farmers’ protests in Europe continue in Spain and are prompting concessions from the government in France. In Madrid, hundreds of tractors and demonstrators partially paralyzed traffic in the city center. The protest is primarily directed against too much bureaucracy, too little state aid and environmental regulations from the European Union. Meanwhile, the government in Paris wants to continue to accommodate the French farmers who have been protesting for weeks and better secure their income.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced that the position of farmers should also be strengthened in negotiations with retailers and food manufacturers. A legal reform will be launched by the summer. “We have heard the farmers’ call, we have made commitments, we are keeping them,” Attal said. The farmers largely stopped their protests after Attal promised new measures on February 1, but demanded the first concrete results before the Salon de l’Agriculture agricultural trade fair that begins at the weekend.

They complain about inadequate pay and the excessive burden of taxes, environmental regulations and cheap competition from abroad. The government has already pushed for looser EU environmental regulations for farmers and wants to curb nationwide protests before the European elections in June. She is concerned that the protests could give rise to right-wing populist parties. For weeks, farmers in many European countries have been taking to the streets against climate and environmental regulations, high tax burdens and bureaucracy, as well as against cheap imports from Ukraine, for example. In central Madrid, demonstrators in yellow vests waved Spanish flags and rang cowbells.

Some farmers complained that police were blocking tractors from traveling to Madrid. The Spanish government announced that 500 tractors had been allowed access – as requested by the organizers. Another 150 vehicles, however, were turned away. Winemaker Lucia Risueno from the Castile-La Mancha region complained that authorities had failed to help the sector. She demanded fairer prices. “I have the same expenses, but I earn half as much, so we can’t continue like this,” said the 52-year-old. There are no limits to the protests until the government puts together tangible aid packages for farmers.

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