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Farmers, violent protest in front of the European Council in Brussels

2024-02-26 17:12:21, Kosova & Bota CNA

Farmers, violent protest in front of the European Council in Brussels

Farmers clashed with police in Belgium on Monday, removing barriers set up by police, as European Union agriculture ministers gathered in Brussels to find solutions to their concerns. Police said 900 tractors had entered the city, many of which were very close to the European Council building where ministers were meeting. Farmers' protests have also spread to other European countries.

Smoke covered the sky near where Belgian police used water on farmers to protect the EU headquarters

The police had placed concrete barriers and barbed wire

Farmers say they are angry at the bloc's red tape and competition from cheap imports from countries where the EU's relatively high standards are not met.

"It is not fair that standards are applied to us all the time which become practically absurd while we allow food products in our country that do not meet those standards," says Belgian farmer Gregory Deleau.

Farmers blocked the main roads leading to central Brussels, lining up tractors.

Inside the EU Council building, European ministers said they are working to address farmers' concerns.

"Belgium, which holds the presidency of the EU, has received 500 proposals from member countries, which is a high but important figure. We will analyze them. We have sent them to the Commission and we hope that the answers will be sufficient", said the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, David Clarinval, on Monday.

"The trust between us has been broken. We need to restore the confidence of our farmers and ranchers that the European Union and in this case the Spanish government, protects them, supports them and of course takes into account their problems", said the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas Puchades.

Over the weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron was booed at the opening of the Paris Agricultural Fair by angry farmers who blame him for not doing enough to support them.

Before the official opening, several dozen protesters forced their way through security barriers and entered the venue as the President arrived.

The meeting in Brussels on Monday came as farmers have stepped up protests this year, not only in France, but also in Poland, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. They complain about high costs, cheap imports and restrictions driven by the EU's Green Deal initiative.

Polish farmers lined up around 100 tractors blocking one of the main entrances to Germany.

"We are protesting against what the European Union and the European Parliament are proposing to us regarding the Green Deal. We want to show our solidarity with all the protesters in Poland, in Germany, France, Spain, we farmers are together. In fact, we all expect the same from those in power in the European Parliament", says Dariusz Wrobel, farmer and entrepreneur from Poland.

Farmers also protested in Madrid on Monday to demand action from policymakers on a range of difficulties they are facing from cheap supermarket prices to low-cost imports undercutting domestic production to tough EU environmental rules. ./ VOA

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