Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Emmanuel Macron will meet Thursday in Brussels with the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, about the crisis shaking the agricultural world as well as measures that farmers are demanding from the European Union (EU).

Farmers are trying to place Paris under siege

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The crisis which is shaking the agricultural world in several European countries is having political repercussions in France. On Monday, President Macron brought together his ministers to take stock and his government promised farmers new measures to try to meet their demands.

  • Anne Marie Lecomte (View profile)Anne Marie Lecomte

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In France, farmers are blocking at least two roads with the aim of placing Paris in a state of “siege” for an indefinite period, a new stage of the protest movement which pushed President Macron to bring together his ministers on Monday afternoon.

The main farmers' unions have planned eight highway blockade points.

Because of this announced siege and the risk of overflow that it poses, 15,000 police officers are mobilized, particularly around the vast Rungis fresh produce market , south of the capital.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said that President Emmanuel Macron had given instructions to ensure that tractors do not go to Paris and large cities so as not to create extremely serious difficulties and to ensure that Rungis can operate as well as the Parisian airports of Orly and Roissy.

A set of factors are making farmers angry: extreme weather episodes, avian flu, soaring fuel prices and even the influx of Ukrainian products on the European market. And this, since the EU encouraged their circulation by lifting customs duties.

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There is also the new European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which has been strengthening environmental obligations since 2023, and the legislation of the European Green Deal (or Green Deal), which is not yet in force, but which is accentuating discontent in the community. agricultural.

President Macron brought together several ministers at the Élysée on Monday for an update on the agricultural situation and a meeting of the Council of Ministers was to follow. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal must, for his part, meet representatives of agricultural unions.

Emmanuel Macron, who will discuss the situation on Thursday with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will participate this week in the extraordinary summit on the budget of the European Union, in Brussels. The French president intends to address the subject of the trade agreement that the EU and the trade alliance of Latin American countries (Mercosur) have been negotiating for years, and which is stumbling over environmental issues.

This possible agreement, which President Macron opposes, is also denounced by French farmers who see it as a risk of unfair competition from southern producers -Americans.

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Gendarmes patrol the area around the market international fresh produce market in Rungis, south of Paris, in the context of farmers' demonstrations on Monday.

On Sunday, as farmers raised the threat of placing Paris under siege, French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal promised to move quickly. I want us to clarify things and see what additional measures we can take on these stories of unfair competition, said the head of government.

It is not normal that you are prevented from using certain products, while neighboring countries, Italy or others, can use them, he noted.

For farmers, Mr. Attal announced measures providing for administrative simplification, acceleration of the payment of emergency aid and the cancellation of the increase in the tax on non-road diesel (GNR). But the agricultural community believes that these advances are insufficient.

The mobilization of farmers is not limited to France: on Monday, German farmers blocked several ports, including that of Hamburg, the largest in the country. And on Sunday, in the south of Belgium, dozens of tractors carried out a snail-like operation to slow down or even block traffic on a highway.

< em>With information from Le Monde, AFP, Reuters and TF1

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