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Represenatives from farming groups accross Europe come to Brussels this Wednesday to make their voices heard and show solidarity together in the fight back against the EU’s war on farming.

Farming representatives from Ireland and Belgium will join French farmers in a show of solidarity at the MCC Brussels event on Wednesday. This message contains quotes from the farming spokepersons.

Wednesday, 24th January 2024 

  • 11:30 Protest at Place du Luxembourg
  • 16:00 Speeches and networking at Thon Hotel EU, Rue De La Loi 75, Brussels

The agrarian fightback against the EU’s anti-farmer policies is gaining momentum. Recent months have seen protests from farmers across Europe. Now, it is the turn of French farmers, who head to the European Parliament on Wednesday, 24th January, to protest against tax hikes, the increased costs for fuel and animal feed, and the overzealous implementation of EU directives, which are strangling farmers across the continent. 

Véronique Le Floc'h, president, Coordination Rurale, the French farming group, said:

"French farmers are united in their opposition to absurd, extreme and unworkable environmental policies dreamt up by the EU and zealously implemented by the Macron government. Those in power do not spare a thought for the impact of these policies on the livelihoods of farmers, the food security of the nation and the cost-of-living crisis facing ordinary people.

"While European elites saddle farmers with ever more demanding environmental regulations, they seek cheap imports from foreign producers who are not subject to the same standards. French farmers are determined to protect Europe against unfair competition and call for an immediate end to the signing of free trade agreements until a new approach to EU regulation is agreed.

French farmers are capable of providing the best quality food produced to the highest standards in the world. We are eager to ensure food security for France and Europe, but the ideologically driven measures imposed by EU and French elites are making this impossible. These elites show disdain for farmers and for ordinary people, and complete disinterest in the consequences of their environmental obsessions."

Richard Schenk, research fellow, MCC Brussels; author MCC Brussels’ report, ‘The EU’s War on Farming’, said

"MCC Brussels are fully committed to supporting European farmers. From our research and from talking to farmers across Europe, it is clear why European farmers are here in Brussels. They are here because the worst excesses of environmental policy are manufactured here, by the European Union. The targets, directives, and laws adopted by the European Union – on nitrogen emissions, on habitats policies, and on carbon trading – are putting us on the road to the destruction of farming in Europe. EU policies directly threaten Europe’s food security and the very existence of rural Europe.

The result of these policies are twofold. First, the closure of thousands of farms, especially small farms. Not just individual livelihoods but the entire rural way of life has been imperiled. The consequences of this in terms of food security, imports, reduced quality and the offshoring of emissions is obvious. Second, it has seen a veritable rural revolution against EU policies and the national parties who used to represent farmers’ interests. From Flanders to Germany, Ireland to France, in fact across the whole EU, this fightback is sure to grow. It is something we champion and welcome."

Helen O Sullivan from the Irish Farmers Alliance said,

"Farmers are being blamed for everything when it comes to climate change. We, the farmers, are made out to be environmental terrorists due to misinformation being spread about us. They say: 'meat is bad for you', 'water quality is bad because of farming' along with other attacks. Recently, we got orders from the EU to reduce our organic nitrogen levels by more than 10% to improve water quality. This will mean we will have to reduce our national herd by 200,000 animals to meet these requirements. This is not sustainable for some farmers, who will have to sell or lease their farms. 

"Farmers across Europe have tried hard to comply with each new layer of regulations. We’ve tried to explain our concerns and that these regulations are jeopardising our livelihoods and our nation’s food security. These concerns have been ignored for years. Farmers' voices have been silenced. Representative bodies have been missing in action. We believe this gathering in the EU capital marks the start of a new collective voice for farmers. We will no longer sit quietly in the background taking orders from the bureaucrats." 

Bart Dickens President of the Famers Defence Force Belgium said:

"It is not just Farmers who are effected by the EU policies. Everyone else also ends up being affected. Many people working in companies related to agriculture will lose their jobs. Our food will become unaffordable, scarce and of questionable quality, and it is certainly not better for the environment if food has to be brought here from the other side of the world. Economically, countries that can no longer produce food lose much of their strength. If, as a country, you must depend on others to provide food for your own population, you put yourself in a fragile position.

"In the end, it's all about government control. They want to be able to control everything for their population. They want to control where you live, where you go, your health, your finances and ultimately, even what you can eat. It is time for the entire population of Europe to stop this dictatorship so that we do not lose our freedoms. It starts with erasing agriculture, and then they will start restricting citizens' freedoms."