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Farmers Across Europe Unite in Protests Against Low Prices and Imports

Source: The DairyNews
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Farmers across Europe continued their protests on Monday, taking various forms of action to draw attention to their demands for fair revenue, addressing low food prices, and countering what they perceive as unfair competition from cheap imports. The protests involved border blockades, clashes with police in Brussels, and gatherings in Madrid.
Farmers Across Europe Unite in Protests Against Low Prices and Imports
Reuters reported that agricultural ministers from European Union (EU) member states convened in Brussels to discuss the ongoing crisis in the agricultural sector after weeks of demonstrations. Despite some recent adjustments to environmental policies under the flagship Green Deal, farmers are calling for more substantial measures.

Morgan Ody, the general coordinator of farming organization La Via Campesina, emphasized the need for fair revenue, citing challenges arising from free trade agreements, deregulation, and prices falling below the cost of production. Riot police clashed with protesters in Brussels, deploying water cannons as around 900 tractors jammed parts of the Belgian capital.

In Madrid, Spanish farmers urged the EU to ease regulations and reconsider changes to the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). Complaints included excessive bureaucracy and the demand for more flexibility in working conditions.

Polish farmers protested against cheap imports from non-EU Ukraine, blocking the A2 highway at a border crossing with Germany. The EU had waived duties on Ukraine's food exports two years ago amid tensions with Russia. Farmers called for solidarity against Ukrainian goods entering the European market.

Belgian Agriculture Minister David Clarinval mentioned the EU's aim to find an effective solution to redirect Ukrainian farm products to markets outside the EU. The agriculture ministers discussed proposals to alleviate financial pressures on European farmers, including reducing farm inspections and potentially exempting small farms from certain environmental standards.

German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir stressed the need for farmers to earn decent incomes, especially if they adopt biodiversity and green measures. He criticized existing EU farm policies as a "bureaucracy monster" and highlighted the average farmer spending a quarter of their time at their desks.

Farmers also voiced concerns about the EU's scrapped emission reduction goals, pesticide regulations, and delayed biodiversity targets. Grievances vary across countries, with some farmers calling for minimum support prices and others emphasizing the need to compete on equal terms with counterparts outside the EU.
Gabrielle Chan
Gabrielle Chan
Author and journalist, and was previously Guardian Australia's rural and regional editor
Consumers assume Australia has milk production covered – but the national dairy herd is declining and imports are at record highs
Jon Patterson
Jon Patterson
Owner of Patterson Farms in Cayuga County and director of the Northeast Dairy Producers Association.
Central New York was chosen to host the North American Manure Expo in July 2024. What does that have to do with the Finger Lakes? Everything. Our farmers were identified as industry leaders in sustainability. It is a testament to the environmental stewardship efforts implemented on farms across our region and state.
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