Farmer Demonstrations in Europe Continue to Spread and Broaden to Other Sectors

The spectacular actions staged for weeks now by farmers throughout Europe have succeeded in pushing back the EU’s “Green Deal”, and that is no minor accomplishment. But much more remains to be done. Meanwhile, the official farmers associations in some countries, after obtaining the promise of concessions, have suspended large-scale protests for the time being, but similar actions have spread to other countries, including Ireland, Spain, Bulgaria and Poland, and are planned for the end of the month in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

In Ireland, in addition to the imports of agricultural products at prices with which local farmers cannot compete, a hot issue is the intent of the government to cull 200,000 cows in order to reduce emissions. In Poland, farmers vehemently oppose the European Commission’s decision to allow duty-free imports of grain and other items from Ukraine, holding protests at border crossings with both Ukraine and Germany.

Slovak farmers are ready to join their colleagues in the neighboring countries of the Visegrad group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) to attack the EU’s “green fanaticism”. The Czech Chamber of Agriculture called on farmers across Europe to take joint action, and coordination of such events was discussed on Feb. 12 and 13. The aim is to organize meetings by the end of February.

In Italy, the Comitati Riuniti Agricoli (CRA), the most radical group in the profession, has rejected the concessions offered by the government after hundreds of tractors surrounded Rome on Feb. 8 and 9, and has announced an escalated national protest with over 20,000 farmers for Feb.15, in Rome. In Spain, farmers protests have been joined by cab drivers and truckers. Lola Gúzman Sáez, spokesperson for Platform 6F welcomed the decision by the “National Platform for the Defense of the Transport Sector”, which brings together 20,000 self-employed transport companies and small and medium-sized enterprises, to join forces with farmers to call for an “indefinite national strike”. 10. Two of Spain’s trade union federations, the CCOO and UGT issued statements of support to the strike. A big rally took place in Barcelona on Feb. 13, and another national rally is planned in Madrid on the 21st.

Very importantly for Germany, farmers with 400 tractors protested against the militarization drive and the budget cuts for the civilian sector at the ground-breaking ceremony for a planned ammunition factory by Rheinmetall, which was attended by Chancellor Scholz and Defense Minister Pistorius. And a “Mittelstand Community” was created at Brunsbüttel, after joint blockades with farmers of access roads to the ChemCoast industrial complex there at the western end of the Kiel Canal. Like in Spain, the idea here is to bring together farmers and protesters from other sectors of the economy for more powerful joint actions in the next rounds of protests.

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