French Farmers Vow to Continue Tractor Protests for ‘As Long As Necessary’

AGEN, FRANCE - JANUARY 22: Farmers with nearly 200 tractors block the A62 freeway to hold
Luc Auffret/Anadolu via Getty Images

French farmers have vowed to continue their tractor protests “for as long as necessary” while laying the blame for growing rural anger at the feet of the European Union’s green agenda and the globalist government of President Emmanuel Macron.

Building off the momentum of the political gains from farmers in the Netherlands last year and the recent uprisings seen across Germany — not to mention decades of tractor protests already seen in France — French farmers said that they plan to continue shutting down motorways with their tractors at least until the end of the week and maybe even longer if the government fails to heed their demands.

Near Toulouse, hundreds of farmers have been blocking a highway in both directions since last Thursday afternoon, while similar protests have been staged across the country.

Arnaud Rousseau, the president of the FNSEA agricultural union said according to Le Figaro: “I can tell you that from today and throughout the week and for as long as it is necessary, a certain number of actions will be carried out.”

“The anger that is being expressed is not new… what farmers want is to restore a form of dignity to their profession, it is to talk about the questions of income and competitiveness. That is the whole subject of the daily exercise of the profession: how with the over-administration and the European variations of a certain number of rules, we are no longer in line with what is happening,” he continued.

Principally, the farmers are calling for their way of life to be respected by elites in Paris and Brussels. However, in terms of concrete measures, they have called for a reduction in onerous green regulations from the EU and from their government, which recently raised taxes on agricultural fuel.

The French farmers have also expressed anger over unfair competition, with food produced with cheaper labour and lax standards undercutting their prices, including from Ukraine, which the EU gave tarriff-free access to the single market last year. This has been further compounded by a lack of enforcement of laws surrounding the annual negotiation of prices between large supermarket chains and farmers.

While recently installed French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has promised to make announcements on initial changes to agricultural policy within the week, it is unclear if the government will be able to restore trust with rural communities ahead of the upcoming European Parliament elections in June, in which farming is set to become a key political issue throughout the bloc.

As has been the case in the Netherlands and in Germany, the populist right in France has aligned itself with the farmer protest movement. The President of National Rally, Jordan Bardella, said that his party is the champion of the farmers while visiting wine growers over the weekend. In contrast, Bardella said: “Macron’s Europe wants the death of our agriculture”.

Bardella declared that the farmers’ anger is a “cry of a French people who do not want to die, who are attached to their social model, who are attached to their countryside, to their rural life.”

The National Rally leader said that going into the EU Parliament elections, his party would advocate for the renegotiation or the withdrawal of trade deals to protect French farmers and vowed to end the inheritance tax for farmers, saying that the government should seek to incentivise young people going into the quickly ageing profession, saying: “A young person who wants to become a farmer is part of the lineage of those who made our country.”

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