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IPFS News Link • Revolutions, Rebellions & Uprisings

Pushback of the Week: February 12, 2024: European Farmers, Belgium and France


In various cities, the sky is filled with billowing smoke from burning tires and piles of farm waste. There are reports of over 1000 tractors gridlocking central Brussels outside the European Parliament, with riot police summoned to face down the farmers and other protesters.

European farmers argue that cheap imports from other countries, overregulation, reduced subsidies, low pay, and "carbon taxes" are forcing many of them to consider shutting down their farms. Some farmers are also rightly asking whether imported food from non-European countries is subject to the same requirements as the increasingly stringent regulations that European farmers are being compelled to follow.

In France, farmer actions are delivering a powerful message, demanding attention and resolution from the authorities. In recent days, French farmers blocked major motorways with tractors in an apparent standoff with the government over concerns about inflation and competition from cheap imports. They also threatened to block significant roads into the capital and "starve Paris." In the commune of Bergerac in Dordogne, a priest blessed farmers participating in the large-scale protests as they drove their tractors through the streets. Sheep were allowed to roam freely, agricultural waste was dumped and sprayed, and massive straw-bale barricades were erected, all while thousands of passersby honked their support.

Subsequently, prime minister Gabriel Attal publicly stated that farmers had to be respected and protected, and farming unions called off the French protests. Attal admitted that mistakes had been made, offering concessions and promising new laws to restrict food imports and prioritize home-grown produce.