French Farmers Protests – Why are they doing this, what is the reason behind it?

The French farmers’ protests of 2024 are a sequence of demonstrations and roadblocks that have been organized mostly by agricultural unions from January 18, 2024. The farmers demanded a free trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur, as well as a reduction in government support for farmers’ diesel fuel.

French Farmers Protests

On Thursday, the unions representing French farmers called off their demonstrations, during which they had obstructed traffic with their vehicles and deposited decaying vegetables and excrement in the vicinity of government buildings as a form of protest. 

The message is that low-cost imports, a dearth of subsidies, and rising manufacturing costs have made it impossible for them to make a livelihood.

Farmers all around Europe are complaining about unfair competition from overseas, taxes, growing costs, and green regulations that are choking them.

Farmers’ demands that EU leaders at a nearby meeting do more to help them culminated in violent scenes earlier in the day in Brussels, where they hurled eggs and pebbles at the European Parliament, ignited fires, and set off fireworks.

In Brussels, José Maria Castilla, a farmer from the Spanish farmers’ group Asaja, declared, “We wish to put an end to these crazy rules that have come via the European Commission.”

What did the prime minister say about French farmers’ protests? 

In addition to increased financial incentives and tax cuts, French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal offered a number of concessions, such as a commitment not to purchase agricultural products that utilize pesticides that are prohibited in the EU. 

The Young Producers and the FNSEA, which stands for the National Federation of Farmers’ organizations in French, the country’s two biggest agricultural organizations, have for the time being been placated by the new regulations.

Farmers all around the European Union have been protesting against bureaucratic policies and low incomes in both their home nations and the EU, but the situation in France is a little different. 

In addition to France’s politics, particularly the unpopularity of President Emmanuel Macron, it is partially due to the country’s self-perception and the importance of agriculture in the country’s national consciousness.

What are the Main issues of French Farmers? 

Farmers in France have been able to push for reforms and get a minimum of a portion of what they want because of the country’s particularly strong protest and workforce cultures. 

However, it is unclear how they will affect EU politics and policy, and they are not expected to have a significant impact on this summer’s elections for the European Parliament. The issues of French farmers represent a broad spectrum of priorities and are largely unique to their particular economic and social tradition. 

A few farmers, including a small, unorganized group in Toulouse that is recognized for initiating motorist blockades, celebrated last week’s announcement of a series of reforms by the government that included loosening restrictions on the construction of water reservoirs, paying landowners for crops eliminated to disease, and reversing a planned increase in the price of gasoline for diesel engines.

The two largest farmers’ organizations in France call off protests 

The two largest farmer unions in France declared on Thursday that they would end the nationwide blockades, immediately after the prime minister unveiled new policies that would safeguard their means of subsistence and that they referred to as “observable progress.

Nonetheless, farmer activists who have caused traffic jams on major highways surrounding Paris declared they would remain where they were for at least one more day until the government provided written pledges, and both unions vowed to rigorously oversee any government implementation.

Loveful words are not what we want to hear. At the road barricade on the A6 highway near Chilly-Mazarin, south of Paris, Thierry Desforges, a member of the agricultural union, stated, Exactly what we desire is evidence of love.

What are the plans that the French government announced for farmers? 

The French government has unveiled plans to increase farmers’ income, safeguard them from unlawful competition, ease daily life, and restore the value of food. Attal has lowered farm taxes and given livestock farmers assistance of 150 million euros. 

A two billion euro program for farmers has been launched by Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau. The government has tightened regulations for shops and food industry groupings by twofold.

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