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Farmers Protest EU Green Policies in Brussels as European Parliament Elections Approach

Belgium 06.06.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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Hundreds of tractors rolled into Brussels on Tuesday as farmers from the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, and Germany gathered to voice their discontent with the European Union's environmental policies. The protest, which took place just days before the European Parliament elections scheduled for June 6-9, highlighted the farmers' concerns that the EU's Green Deal compromises the competitiveness of European agriculture.
Farmers Protest EU Green Policies in Brussels as European Parliament Elections Approach
Hundreds of tractors rolled into Brussels on Tuesday as farmers fr om the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, and Germany gathered to voice their discontent with the European Union's environmental policies. The protest, which took place just days before the European Parliament elections scheduled for June 6-9, highlighted the farmers' concerns that the EU's Green Deal compromises the competitiveness of European agriculture.

The demonstration was organized by the Dutch lobby group Farmers Defence Force and drew support from right-wing and far-right groups. Despite the presence of approximately 500 tractors, the protest was smaller than others held earlier in the year, according to police estimates.

Participants expressed a desire for a significant shift in EU policies. "We came from Poland because we know that the source of our problem is in Brussels. We want to deeply change the Green Deal," stated Damian Murawiec, a crop farmer from Poland, during the protest in Laeken, northern Brussels.

The protest has been part of a months-long series of demonstrations across Europe, wh ere farmers have criticized low food prices, excessive regulation, and free-trade agreements, arguing that these factors make it difficult to compete with cheaper imports.

While the Farmers Defence Force led the protest, mainstream farming groups like Copa Cogeca and La Via Campesina distanced themselves from the event. A spokesperson for Via Campesina criticized the protest, stating, "We reject this attempt by small groups that have no concrete proposals to address farmers’ issues to hijack farmer concerns to push their own party interests."

The event also saw political involvement, with planned addresses by members of the Belgian far-right party Vlaams Belang and the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists group.

In a related show of solidarity, farmers in Poland blocked a border crossing with Ukraine, causing significant delays, though other border crossings operated normally. This protest, according to police spokesperson Malgorzata Pawlowska, was set to last three days.

As the European Parliament elections draw near, the protests underscore the deep divisions and ongoing debates surrounding the EU's agricultural and environmental policies.
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