Brussels: Farmers protest near the EC headquarters. They set tires on fire and the police used water cannons

Luc Williams

On Monday until European district of Brussels it drove in several hundred tractors.

Leaky police locks

Farmers set their tires on fire Before police roadblocks near Rondo Schuman, where the EU institutions have their headquarters. Some tractors even broke through police blockades. One of the police barriers was simply bypassed because the blockade did not include the bicycle path and pedestrian sidewalk, which allowed the tractors to head towards Rondo Schuman.

Farmers they throw firecrackers at the police. According to the Belgian media, the police decided to sending reinforcements to the European district.

Due to the farmers’ protest no trains stop at the station at Rondo Schuman. Access to the roundabout is blocked by police.

Controversial EU-Mercos agreement

The action is there an initiative of the European organization Via Campesina (ECVC), which represents small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises. As reported by the Belga agency, one of main demands organization is EU withdrawal from free trade agreementse.g. with the Mercosur countries, i.e Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. This topic will appear on Monday meeting of EU agriculture ministers.

EU-Mercosur trade agreement was created to increase the flow of goods between the EU and South American countries. It assumes, among others: reducing customs duties and quotas on meat and other agricultural products. According to the protesters, this agreement will have a negative impact on farmers from Western Europe because it will create benefits for them unfair competition.

Changing agricultural policy

In addition to withdrawing from agricultural trade agreements, farmers – according to Belga – also demand fair wages and changes in EU agricultural policy. They protest against the European Commission’s proposals regarding agriculture, including: restrictions on the use of agricultural land in the EU.

This is the second such large protest. On February 1, over 1,000 tractors paralyzed Brussels while taking place in the capital of Belgium EU summit.

Łukasz Osiński from Brussels


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