Farmers Protest in Brussels: Tensions Rise as Police Deploy Water Cannons

EU | February 26, 2024, Monday // 13:14|  views

Farmers and agricultural producers from across Europe have once again converged in Brussels to protest in front of the European institutions, escalating tensions with authorities. The demonstration coincides with a meeting of the EU Council on Agriculture and Fisheries, attended by agriculture ministers from all member states, including Bulgaria's Minister Kiril Vatev.

Early in the morning, hundreds of tractors lined the streets in front of the European institutions, with more protesters expected to arrive. Road blockades caused traffic disruptions, prompting authorities to advise the use of metro transportation. As tensions flared, police deployed water cannons to disperse protesters who had resorted to burning tires and throwing smoke bombs.

The farmers' grievances stem from perceived insufficient concessions from the European Union in previous protests. They are calling for an end to free trade agreements, citing cheaper imports from countries with less stringent environmental standards. The Bulgarian Farmers' Union has joined the demands of the European Organization of Agricultural Producers.

Morgan Ody, a farmer and general coordinator of the farming organization "Via Campesina", emphasized the financial strain on farmers, advocating for higher product prices to support ecological practices. While not against climate policies, farmers assert that financial support is essential for transitioning to sustainable farming methods.

The agriculture ministers convened to discuss new EU proposals aimed at alleviating pressure on farmers, including reduced inspections and potential exemptions for small farms from certain environmental standards. Belgian Agriculture Minister David Clarinval highlighted the core issue, emphasizing the need for farmers to be adequately compensated for their efforts, particularly in light of the environmental requirements set forth in the EU's Green Deal.

The EU has faced criticism for perceived concessions on its flagship environmental policies, including dropping emissions reduction targets for agriculture by 2040 and delaying pesticide reduction laws. Despite these setbacks, farmers continue to advocate for fair compensation and support to facilitate the transition to more sustainable farming practices.

We need your support so can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!

Tags: farmers, Brussels, protest, EU


» Related Articles: