Days of protests by farmers in Europe have turned into a political debate between France and Spain over ‘tomatoes’.
Former French Ecology Minister Segolele Royal’s use of the terms ‘inedible’ and ‘fake organic’ for tomatoes produced in Spain in a television program he participated in during the week and French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal’s accusation of Spain of ‘creating unfair competition by allowing unhealthy agricultural products to be grown’ sparked a polemic.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez argued that criticism of Spanish agricultural products was “unfounded” and said he would invite former French Minister Royal to Spain “to taste tomatoes he has never had the chance to try.”
“When he tastes it, he will see that Spanish tomatoes are unbeatable, unbeatable,” Sanchez said.
French farmers, who have been protesting for days in their countries and finally in Brussels, demanding a change in the European Union’s (EU) agricultural policy, restrictions and controls on products from non-EU countries, further increases in prices and salaries in line with inflation, and arguing that the products coming out of the field are on the shelves at doubled prices, had also targeted Spanish and Italian products in their protests.
In France, which according to statistics imports 40 percent of its annual fruit and vegetable consumption from Spain and Italy, farmers accuse the two countries of ‘unfair competition’.
Spanish farmers to continue protests
On the other hand, farmers in Spain, who started small-scale protests for similar reasons to the farmers in France, decided to continue their protests after meeting today with the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Luis Planas.
Unconvinced by Minister Planas, the farmers announced that they would stage road blockades with tractors in Catalonia on February 13 and in the capital Madrid on February 21.