• 12:00 to 2:30PM, Tuesday 9th April
  • Lunch available from 12 noon, followed by discussion
  • Thon EU, Room Belgium 3
  • Rue de la Loi 75, 1040 Bruxelles


European farmers have made their voices heard and rattled, potentially even panicked, the institutions of the European Union. With bravery and commitment, farmers from Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Romania, Greece and elsewhere have protested against the attack on farming in the form of excessive environmental regulations, immense bureaucracy and unfair competition. Key concessions are being won, but do they go far enough? Is it time for a more fundamental conversation about the future of European farming?

A clear example of the impact of the farmer protests is the now stalled passage of the Nature Restoration Law. In November last year, the Council reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on the text. The debilitating impact of the proposed law on farmers was one common factor behind the massive protests that have swept across many member states. The protests won wide public sympathy. Following a close vote in favour of the Law in the European Parliament in February, the legislation stalled at the final hurdle when it became clear insufficient member states would support it in its current form at the European Council. The NRL is just one of many issues that farmers have been protesting about; fuel costs, pricing, imports from Ukraine, free trade agreements and other environmental restrictions have also been high on the agenda.

Continued pressure will be required to secure lasting change in support of European farmers, but what are the key arguments that need to be won in each country to ensure food security, a profitable existence for farmers and the rural way of life? How can we protect farmers and secure reasonable prices for European citizens? What’s the balance between opposing unfair competition from abroad where certain regulations don’t apply and challenging the current regulatory burden in Europe? Should farmers embrace green politics or challenge it? Is farming unrest simply a call for greater protectionism, or does Europe need a serious conversation about the drivers of farmer unrest and the attack on the rural way of life?

Join MCC Brussels to discuss where the farming debate has got to and which way now?

Introductions from:

  • Richard Schenk, research fellow, MCC Brussels; author MCC Brussels’ report, ‘The EU’s War on Farming’
  • Thomas Fazi, researcher and journalist; author MCC Brussels’ report, ‘The Dangers of Carbon Farming: An unholy alliance between finance and environmentalism’ 

Remarks from:

  • Bart Dickens, Farmers Defence Force, Belgium
  • Monika Przeworska, Manager, Instytut Gospodarki Rolnej, Poland
  • Sieta van Keimpema, member, Famers Defence Force Board, Netherlands