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Farmers give Macron rough ride at trade fair

Farmers give Macron rough ride at trade fair
By Robert Hackwill
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Annual agricultural salon often a point of political protest for visiting presidents


The honeymoon appears to be well and truly over for France's President Emmanuel Macron, who was booed at the Salon d'agriculture in Paris on Saturday.

He was given the bird by young farmers' associations and producers who are struggling with lower subsidies and prices, and those angered at France's refusal to ban outright a certain sort of pesticide.

Macron reminded farmers that their pensions were unsecured and he would change that to give them similar security to those of railway workers. 

The farmers' salon is a key moment in the French political agenda and has often proved to be a flashpoint for popular discontent, while a useful platform for Presidents and Prime Ministers looking for support from a key economic and social sector.

President Jacques Chirac was a master at playing to the farmers, with the salon allowing him to show off his common touch. President Sarkozy was less successful , with a memorable incident at one such salon leading to a vulgar and angry exchange with a member of the public that led to Sarkozy dropping his guard, and giving the French an early glimpse of his lack of tact or patience.

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