French farmers could stage more protests, says union boss

Some protests have resumed to pile pressure on the government to provide more help to farmers and deliver on promises

By REUTERS
March 04, 2024
President of the FNSEA farmers' union Arnaud Rousseau (centre) attends a demonstration prior to the opening of the 60th International Agriculture Fair (Salon de l'Agriculture) outside Paris's Porte de Versailles exhibition center on February 24, 2024. — AFP

PARIS: French farmers could stage more protests and blockades in the coming weeks to push the government to deliver on its promises to help the sector, the head of France’s largest farming union FNSEA said on Sunday.

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Farmers across Europe have been protesting for weeks over what they say are excessively restrictive environmental rules, competition from cheap imports from outside the European Union, plus rising costs and low incomes.

Union boss Arnaud Rousseau was speaking to BFM TV on the last day of the Paris agricultural fair and ahead of a meeting between President Emmanuel Macron, farmers’ union representatives and other stakeholders at the Elysee palace in mid-March.

“To expect that in 15 days it will all be over is a mistake. Farmers need something concrete ... There could be a number of actions to make sure things happen in coming days,” Rousseau said, without providing further details.

“The embers are hot, this is not over ... some regions are planning to keep up the protests,” he said.

On Feb 24, a group of French farmers stormed into the Paris agricultural show ahead a visit by Macron, disrupting the start of the fair.

Farm Minister Marc Fesneau, responding to Rousseau on BFM on Sunday, said: “We need to keep up the work ... it is up to us to lift doubts.”

French farmers last month had largely suspended protests after Prime Minister Gabriel Attal promised new measures worth 400 million euros ($433.48 million).

But some protests have resumed to pile pressure on the government to provide more help to farmers and deliver on promises.

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