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EU faces pressure to defuse mounting anger as farmers protest across Europe

Already bearing the brunt of the climate crisis, Europe’s farmers are speaking out against policies they say are contradictory, unfair and leave them worried for the future.

As Rosie Frost reports for Euronews, roads have been blocked across France, manure and agricultural waste dropped outside public offices, and bales of hay spread through fast food restaurants.

It started last year when farmers began unscrewing road signs and putting them back upside down. They sometimes added the slogan ‘on marche sur les têtes’ meaning ‘we’re walking on our heads’ in reference to their world being turned upside down.

Since then, protests have become increasingly disruptive and were hit by tragedy on Tuesday when a farmer and her daughter were killed and her husband seriously injured in a traffic collision at a protest barricade in the Ariège region of southwestern France. France’s biggest farmers union, FNSEA, says protests will continue “this week and as long as necessary”. It is considering nationwide action as the movement progresses.

Anger has also been growing in Germany over plans to phase out fuel subsidies worth up to €3,000 a year for the average business. More long-term resentment over the unfair application of environmental policies has only added fuel to the fire. Farmers have been taking to the streets since December. Streets were lined with heavy vehicles.

In Romania and Bulgaria, border crossings have been jammed by tractors and trucks. Poland saw the resignation of its agricultural minister last April over the dispute though new subsidies have now somewhat calmed the situation.

Source: Euronews. Read the full story here
Photo: Farmers with tractors arrive for a protest at the government district in Berlin, Germany, 15 January, 2024. Credit AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi,

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