Home » The tractors in the square in Brussels, between burnt tires and the promises of EU ministers

The tractors in the square in Brussels, between burnt tires and the promises of EU ministers

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The tractors in the square in Brussels, between burnt tires and the promises of EU ministers

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Fires of dumpsters and tires set on fire. Firecracker explosions. The police using water cannons. In the squares of Brussels, the protests of European farmers, as announced in recent days, have at times turned into real clashes. On the day in which the city hosts the Council of EU Agriculture Ministers, thousands of demonstrators from all over the continent gathered in front of the headquarters of the European institutions, with hundreds of tractors in tow.

The associations are also protesting

Together with them, representatives of some important agricultural associations also took to the streets to demonstrate: the Italian Coldiretti, the Spanish Asaja, the Portuguese Cap and the Belgian Fwa. The various agricultural federations believe that the European Commission has not taken sufficient concrete decisions towards them, despite protest actions earlier this month.

The president of Coldiretti himself, Ettore Prandini, is leading his associates who demonstrated in Rue de la Loi, a few steps from the European Parliament: «We are here to ask for exhaustive answers in certain times, a large organization like Coldiretti has the duty to transform the protest into concrete proposals”. The requests, anticipated by Prandini in a letter to the president of the EU Commission Ursula Von der Leyen, aim to eliminate any sanctions imposed on farmers for 2024 and 2025 and to proceed with the definitive cancellation of the obligation to keep 4% of uncultivated land.

Agriculture, Giansanti: this is why we protest

At the same time as the farmers’ demonstrations in the square, the ministers of the 27 countries took turns speaking at the headquarters of the EU Council. Most of them ask for a review of the CAP and more support for European agriculture. «Farmers are put under pressure – admitted the Belgian Agriculture Minister, David Clarinval, who holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council – with the Russians using cereals to put pressure on Europeans and Ukrainians as a weapon of war and with the constraints of the Green Deal, answers are needed. From the Commission we see that there are already short-term proposals, it is important now to go further, with a medium-term perspective”.

“We are faced with a European problem to which we need to give a European solution”, said the Spanish Agriculture Minister, Luis Planas, in Brussels, just as street demonstrations from the agricultural world are once again underway in Madrid. Spain is asking Europe for “a new great pact to have farmers at our side and so that they understand and support the transformation process we are carrying out”. The French minister, Marc Fesneau, also calls for signs of change to be given to farmers immediately: «The Green Deal must also be a product deal, otherwise we will have lost elements of sovereignty, with agriculture more attentive to environmental issues in Europe but which is not capable of producing what we need.”

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