More farmers protests cause disuption in Brussels

Police move in to clear a demonstration of farmers near the European Council building in Brussels, Tuesday, March 26, 2024.
Police move in to clear a demonstration of farmers near the European Council building in Brussels, Tuesday, March 26, 2024. Copyright Associated Press
By Aida Sanchez Alonso with Euronews
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The farmers' protests are ongoing, despite the EU relaxing its demands.

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The concessions made to farmers haven't helped to calm the anger of the demonstrators who gathered again in Brussels on Tuesday, just a few metres from where the EU agriculture ministers were meeting.

Unlike the February rallies, where several hundred tractors were gathered, only a few turned up this time around. The reasons for their protests remain largely the same.

Brussels has taken note of the farmers' demands, including several meetings with European politicians, such as the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and several agricultural ministers. "We have listened to our farmers and taken swift action to respond to their concerns at a time when they are facing many challenges," said David Clarinval, Belgium's deputy prime minister.

A few weeks ago, the European Commission announced a review of the environmental standards linked to the Common Agricultural Policy, one of the main demands of farmers. It also said it would reduce and simplify the bureaucracy needed to access farm subsidies.

The new rules also benefit small farms: those of less than 10 hectares will not be subject to the controls and sanctions related to CAP cross-compliance.

For farmers, the response has been too little too late. "There have been some announcements, but in reality there is still a lack of solutions," explains Olivia Leruth of the Walloon Federation of Agriculture. She commented that the farmers are still concerned about several important areas, such as income and international agreements.

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