Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

France: the Prime Minister cancels the increase in non-road diesel agricultural

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French farmers block the A64 motorway with their tractors to protest against pressure on prices, taxes and green regulations, grievances shared by farmers across Europe on January 26, 2024.

Agence France-Presse

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal canceled on Friday the increase in non-road agricultural diesel planned in France and announced “ten administrative simplification measures”, in response to the anger of the country's farmers.

After criticizing those who oppose the defense of our farmers and the defense of the environment, Mr. Attal acceded to one of the main demands of the demonstrators: the cancellation of the increase, although recorded in the 2024 budget, the tax on non-road agricultural diesel, which was to increase gradually until 2030.

The head of government promises elsewhere a shock of administrative simplification with ten immediate simplification measures. He cited in particular the cleaning of agricultural watercourses or the deadlines for appeals against agricultural projects.

Furthermore, France opposes the signing of the controversial trade agreement between the European Union and the Latin American countries of MERCOSUR, assured Mr. Attal.

MERCOSUR and the EU have been negotiating for years this agreement which stumbles on environmental issues, denounced, in particular by French farmers, for the risk of unfair competition on the part of South American products.

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He also advocated the proper application of French laws which aim to protect the income of farmers in the context of negotiations with manufacturers and supermarkets.

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Prime Minister Gabriel Attal meets farmers on a farm in Montastruc-de-Salies.

In the coming days, the government will very heavily sanction three companies who do not respect these laws, announced Mr. Attal, who also promised a strengthening of controls.

The Prime Minister also announced an effort to provide rapid emergency aid, particularly with regard to epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) for which reimbursement by the French State for veterinary care increases from 80% to 90%.

This disease, transmitted by biting midges, mainly affects deer and cattle. The vast majority of outbreaks are concentrated in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Hautes-Pyrénées (south-west).

These announcements come as farmers make increase pressure on the executive: access to Paris was particularly disrupted on Friday, and highways were still blocked.

During this speech, standing in front of a haystack, the head of government multiplied gestures of understanding towards farmers.

We do not will not give up on you, we are going to fight at the European level to also move the lines, he concluded.

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