Monday, February 26, 2024

"Like A Warzone": Farmers Surround EU Headquarters Building


Despite attempts by the EU Commission and European governments to buy time in their efforts to defuse the incendiary farmers rebellion which has spread all over western Europe, the protests are escalating again as anger in the agricultural sector flares up again because the farmer feel politicians and bureaucrats are stalling the implementation of certain pledges on tax relief and easing of net zero restrictions.

Yesterday we reported that French farmers had disrupted an agricultural show in Paris. Today the main action moves across the border.

Hundreds of Belgian farmers on tractors clogged roadways around the European Council building. The stink of manure, burning tyres and teargas assaulted the olfactory organs of commuters on their was to work in Belgium's capital city Brussels this morning (26 February) as angry farmers surrounded the European Union headquarters in the city. 

This protest was called to coincide with a meeting of the  EU bloc's agriculture ministers. Farmers, who have been protesting since November 2022 over the EU's disastrous green policies, rising energy prices and the importation of cheap food from third world countries which undercuts local produce due to the low wage costs, lax regulatory jurisdictions and huge subsidies paid by governments desperate to attract inflows of traded currencies.  Videos posted on X show the chaotic scenes in the streets and outside the EU headquarters building where fires were lit and protesters stopped people getting in and out of some access points.

Tractors driven by protesting farmers break through a police checkpoint
near the EU headquarters (screen grab from RT)

Protesters burn tyres and rubbish outside an entrance to the EU headquarters (Screen grab from RT)

Bloomberg reports that farmers are still angry about the bureaucratic complexities of doing business, trade deals with non - EU food producers, climate-related rules, rising costs of uel and energy and efforts to help Ukraine dump cheap grain onto European markets. 

"There is a clear problem with the reduction of the import tariffs for Ukraine and massive imports of grain and poultry which depresses the prices," said Guillaume Van Binst, secretary general of the Federation of Young Farmers, adding: "The measures proposed by the commission are very weak and it is more passing the hot potato to member states."

Today's protest is the latest in a series of demonstrations by farmers across several EU countries, including France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Spain. Blue-collar workers are also furious about static or falling incomes in the face of inflation and problems in labour markets caused by uncontrolled mass immigration. 

EU leaders are panicking as none of their efforts to blindside farmers organisations with distractions, empty promises and glad handing have succeeded in curbing the wave of social unrest spreading across the bloc.   While the farmers complain that promised changes have not materialised, the politicians and buraucrats are stil wriggling like maggots trying to escape from an anglers hook.
"It [the reforms] can always go more quickly, But we're already working faster than usually." David Clarinval, Belgium's agriculture minister, told reporters Monday. In other words, like all governments everywhere they are doing nothing slowly.

Clarinval said, "One can understand the anger of the farmers. One can also understand that some are in a difficult situation. But aggression has never been a source of solutions."

Obviously the farmers disagree and they are correct, when people are determined to ignore complaints nothing gets their attention better than a good hard kick up the arse.

What a mess Europe has become.



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