Tractor invasion of Brussels. Over 900 machines are participating in the protest and their number is growing

Luc Williams

Some of the demonstrators, with the sound of horns, throws firecrackers, eggs and even oranges at the police. It’s raining in Brussels, which makes it impossible setting fire to more piles of tires and piles of straw, which farmers transported to the protest. Police sirens can be heard in the city.

Brussels city center blocked

The center of the protest is the area around Rondo Schuman, where the main EU institutions have their headquarters – European Commission and EU Council. They are ongoing in the Council building meeting of the ministers of agriculture Member States. The topic is a set of EC proposals intended to improve situation of farmers among others by exempting farms from certain environmental standards.

Agricultural “no” to the green deal

“The Commission proposes to put on hold certain provisions relating to… environmental protection – which we did not ask for – and benefit from administrative simplifications. This is certainly necessary for farmers, but it does not meet our priority of setting fair prices,” Petel added.

In the morning, before it started raining, farmers set fire to piles of tires. To extinguish the flames, police used water cannons. Some of the tractors broke through police blockades.

Imported food displaces local producers

Farmers they are becoming more and more angry precisely because we are not seeing concrete action on our demand for revenue. Until decisive action is taken, especially in this case suspending the EU-Mercosur agreementwe will not calm down and we will press,” added the farmer, quoted by RTBF.

“We are coming back to repeat our number one demand: to guarantee fair income for farmers. To do this, we must move away from free trade policy and market deregulation“- emphasized one of the protesters, a representative of the Fugea agricultural organization, Timothee Petel, in an interview with RTBF.

The agricultural federation says it expects the EC to take “decisive action on these issues.” Recent decisions have been described as “largely insufficient.”

Ukrainian grain is a bone of contention

Farmers across Europe have been protesting for weeks, demanding action on issues ranging from authorities’ response to low supermarket prices import of agricultural products from abroadwhich hits local producers, to stringent EU environmental regulations and restrictions import of agricultural products from Ukraine.

Morgan Ody, director general of agricultural organization La Via Campesina, told Reuters that for most farmers “it’s about income.” “It’s about the fact that we are poor and we want to live with dignity,” he said. Ody, a farmer from Brittany in northern France , called on the EU to exit the free trade agreements they enable import of cheaper agricultural products.

Łukasz Osiński from Brussels


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