France has tightened security measures ahead of Monday’s nationwide farmers’ protest, Reuters reported. French farmers’ tractors have again blocked the main roads leaving Paris.
Farmers in France, the largest agricultural producer in the European Union, complain about unfair competition from rivals from countries subject to less stringent regulations. Last week, they set up roadblocks on highways and destroyed state property, Reuters reported.
Blockades 30 kilometers away
On Monday, French farmers’ tractors again blocked main access roads to Paris.
Trade union leaders announced on Sunday that they would “launch an indefinite siege” of Paris on Monday at 2 p.m. They announced that farmers would block all major highways leaving the capital at a distance of approximately 30 kilometers.
Farmers are also protesting in Belgiumwhere they blocked the entrance to the Brussels ring road from the E429 Tournai-Halle motorway.
– We understood that as long as the protest is far from Paris, the message will not reach the recipient – said Arnaud Rousseau, chairman of the largest farmers’ union, FNSEA. He said farmers would continue protests across France in order to “introduce emergency measures affecting the fundamentals of their activities.”
Rousseau is scheduled to meet French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal on Monday.
Minister of Agriculture Marc Fesneau announced that during the extraordinary summit of European Union leaders in Brussels (February 1 – ed.) Emmanuel Macron will push for more pro-agricultural policies to address concerns raised by many farmers in his country, Reuters reported.
The Prime Minister visits a cattle farm
French farmers are demanding higher prices for their products, offsetting the increase in production costs and greater protection against foreign competition. They found the government’s proposals put forward on Friday unsatisfactory.
Earlier, trade union leaders, including the FNSEA, announced that on Monday they would “launch an indefinite siege” of Paris, blocking the main access roads to the capital.
Prime Minister Attal paid a visit to a cattle farm in the Indre and Loire department in the center of the country on Sunday. At an informal meeting with the head of government, farmers complained, among other things, about: to falling profits, low pensionsbureaucratic complications and foreign competition.
The head of government stated that the authorities would analyze the possibility of introducing “additional measures” to protect French farmers from competition.
Arnaud Rousseau told the weekly “La Tribune” that Attal “only took into account some of the 122 demands presented.”
A symptom of rural dissatisfaction
France is the largest agricultural producer in the EU, the Associated Press reported, emphasizing that farmers’ protests in this country are a symptom of rural dissatisfaction also in other EU countries.
The influential and heavily subsidized sector is becoming a hot topic ahead of June elections to the European Parliament, and populist and far-right parties hope to take advantage of farmers’ dissatisfaction with free trade agreements or the issue of burdens caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to AP.
Main photo source: SEBASTIEN NOGIER/PAP/EPA