(UnitedVoice.com) – Countries around Europe have taken steps to reduce climate change. However, some of those regulations have come at the expense of farmers. Then there’s Germany, which tried to close a budget shortfall by harming the people growing food for the nation. All of these issues have culminated in massive protests around Europe.
What’s Going On?
Farmers in France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and other nations, have hopped into their tractors and taken to the streets. They have blocked ports, government buildings, roads, and other places. Farmers have even thrown eggs at lawmakers.
It’s not just one problem angering the farmers, but more of an accumulation of issues. One unnamed farmer told a journalist, “We are no longer making a living from our profession.”
On February 1, farmers traveled to Brussels, where European Union leaders were holding a summit on Ukraine. They started fires, pushed their horns, and threw eggs at leaders outside of the parliament building.
In France, farmers blocked traffic with their tractors. They also dumped rotting produce and manure in front of government buildings. They told officials a lack of subsidies, coupled with cheap imports and increased production costs, are making it impossible to earn a living. Those increased costs are directly related to the French government requiring farmers to invest in environmentally-friendly production methods.
German farmers protested the government’s decision to cut diesel subsidies in order to close a budget shortfall. The farmers blocked roads and launched demonstrations in major cities. Thousands of farmers in Spain turned out in force, causing traffic jams around the country. In Italy, farmers lit fires and blocked roads.
On February 6, the Agricultural Ministry announced it would provide 270 million euros ($290 million) worth of aid to 140,000 farmers. The money is being used to combat the issues caused by Russia’s attack on Ukraine and a severe drought in Spain.
On the same day, the European Union announced it was setting aside a proposal that would have forced farmers to reduce the amount of chemical pesticides they are using. The Associated Press reported European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the “proposal has become a symbol of polarization” and believes a new approach is necessary.
In the last week, the European Union has also released proposals to protect countries from cheap Ukrainian imports. France has promised to give farmers subsidies and place more limits on imported food. The French president has also said he would stop a deal with South American countries if it was going to hurt farmers.
It’s unclear whether farmers are going to be satisfied or if they end to continue their protests.
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