French farmers expect concrete steps from the government

Farmers blocked the A15 highway to Paris, expressing their frustration with criticism of their profession and agricultural policies and demanding concrete steps from the French government

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French farmers expect concrete steps from the government

Farmers from FNSEA, the country’s largest farmers’ union, continue to block highways in the Ile-de-France region.

The farmers commented on France’s agricultural policies, the European Union’s (EU) environmental policies, the inadequacy of their wages and the devaluation of their profession.

“Farmers are working hard and are in a bad economic situation because of the rules imposed by Europe and France,” said farmer Rodolphe Thomassin, a member of FNSEA.

Thomassin said that their blocking of transportation to the Ile-de-France region, including the A15 highway, was aimed at putting pressure on the government, pointing out that they had the support of the majority of the population in their actions.

On the other hand, Thomassin emphasized that despite this public support, a negative image of farmers is painted in the media, and reacted against the discrediting of farmers.

Another FNSEA member, farmer Lucile Barrois, said that they were planning to hold the siege closer to Paris and that their biggest complaint was that the administration had imposed “so much bureaucratic work on farmers that they had no time to work in the fields”.

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“We have other things to do besides being in official institutions,” Barrois said, noting that the farmers’ protests are a continent-wide protest that is continuing in other EU countries.

Barrois pointed out that foreign producers and French farmers are subjected to different practices, especially with regard to phytosanitary restrictions.

“It is an injustice to us to accept European or foreign products that do not have the phytosanitary standards we insist on complying with,” Barrois said, calling for more consideration of the efforts of French farmers.

According to recent polls in France, between 80 percent and 90 percent of the population supports farmers.

The farmers say they are determined to continue protesting until the French government and the European Union respond to their demands.

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