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Spanish, Polish and Moldovan farmers continue to denounce EU policies

Farmers with their tractors attend a protest in Pamplona, northern Spain, Friday, Feb. 9, 2024.
Farmers with their tractors attend a protest in Pamplona, northern Spain, Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Copyright AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos
Copyright AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos
By Euronews with EBU
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Farmers across three countries continue to block roads in protest at their respective governments and Brussels.

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It's day seven of the Spanish farmers' protest against costly EU sustainability rules.

As they continue to maintain roadblocks with their tractors nationwide, the core members of the agricultural industry are calling for more governmental support in the face of a severe, ongoing drought and rising production costs.

Spain has seen three years of below-average rainfall amid record-high temperatures. Conditions are expected to get worse because of climate change, which is predicted to heat up the Mediterranean area faster than other regions.

Meanwhile, the transport sector’s Platform 6F and the Platform for the Defence of the Transport Sector have initiated an indefinite national strike, aiming to halt activity on highways, seeking to demonstrate that Spain’s agricultural and transport sectors are united in their call for change.

Moldovan farmers denounce insufficient government subsidies

Meanwhile, on Monday, Moldovan farmers blocked the Leușeni-Albita customs border with Romania using tractors.

Moldovan farmers are unhappy that the state does not intervene with subsidies to alleviate the losses they say they have suffered in the last two years. They say that without an injection of at least 400 million Moldovan lei (€20.8 million) from the government, they will not be able to start spring agricultural work.

The Association Forța Fermierilor, which has undertaken the protest, claims that the situation of small and medium-sized farmers has never been so complicated and warns that the crisis could destroy thousands of agricultural producers and dozens of rural localities.

At the farmers' protests at the end of last year, the government rejected all their demands. At that time, the grain producers requested the government to compel the commercial banks to offer all farmers a holiday on the repayment of loans and to freeze the calculation of penalties.

The government said at the time that it had no leverage to intervene in the banks' work.

In August 2023, the Chisinau government disbursed 200 million lei (€10.4 million) for small farmers in Moldova. Thanks to that help, around 3,000 farmers avoided insolvency.

"Agriculture benefits from massive subsidies of over 1 billion 700 million lei annually, because we want this sector to gradually become more technological and less vulnerable to external challenges. The enormous effort we are making, together with the whole society, will help farmers to overcome the financial difficulties they have", Prime Minister Dorin Recean said at the time.

Last week, the Moldovan Government allocated another 50 million lei (€2.6 million) to support farmers who suffered losses as a result of the calamities of the summer of 2023. According to the calculations of the Ministry of Agriculture, the most affected crop was corn, especially in the districts of southern Moldova.

Therefore, 45 million lei (€23.4 million) was directed to farmers whose harvest was compromised by 60% or more. Approximately 390 farmers will benefit from this aid, which will be allocated to applicants as a direct payment per hectare.

Polish farmers say Ukrainian grain is unfair competition

Meanwhile, Polish farmers took to the streets again yesterday after widespread protests on Friday. They are set to hold demonstrations for the whole month of February.

Farmers said that while they support Ukraine, its grain imports to the EU are too large and significantly affect the internal market.

Some dumped loads of Ukrainian grain on Poland's border roads.

Protesters also added that they deliberately did not display Ukrainian flags on their tractors.

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