Police pelted with eggs as farmers protest in Brussels

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By Euronews
Police pelted with eggs as farmers protest in Brussels

There have been angry scenes in Brussels as EU farmers protested over falling milk and meat prices.

Eggs and firecrackers were thrown at police, as burning straw bales filled the air with smoke.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the European Commission building in the city, as agriculture ministers met to discuss the price problems.

“Eighty-six percent of Danish milk farmers are nearly broke. So we hope we get help here today,” said one farmer from Denmark.

Ingrid Janssen, a pig association chair, was also at the demonstration.

“We want a level playing field and the level playing has to be right in every member state in the European Union at the same level,” she said.

“And in Holland we have higher costs than our European colleagues. And that’s the reason why we are here now.”

A Lithuanian protester added: “We have to sell five litres of milk to buy one litre of water. It’s very complicated because we have the lowest price of milk. We have 20 euro cents per litre and the Europe average is about 30 cents.”

There have been calls for more direct government help and a return of quotas. But the latter has been ruled out.

“I just remind you what Commissioner Hogan said in the press conference that he held almost two weeks ago about that issue. He said that milk quotas are gone for good,” said Daniel Rosario, European Commission spokesman.

France is calling for a rise in the minimum milk price, export incentives and the lifting of a Russian embargo on pork imposed last year.