Farmers continue protests in Spain and Italy

Reacting to the agricultural policies, Spanish farmers are organizing a road blockade, while Italian farmers are heading towards Rome with their tractors.

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Spanish farmers, joining the ongoing farmer protests in many European countries, organized road blockades with their tractors across the country. Italian farmers are moving towards the capital Rome. Meanwhile, the European Commission, forced to take the farmers’ demands on the agenda, announced some steps back.

SPANISH FARMERS ALSO DROVE TRACTORS ON HIGHWAYS

The farmers’ protests, which first started in France and then spread to other countries such as Germany, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Romania, Romania, Portugal and Greece, have intensified in Spain since this week.

Farmers took to the highways in many Spanish cities including Seville, Toledo, Granada, Huelva, Zaragoza, Ciudad Real, Valencia, Valencia, Malaga, Murcia, Tarragona, Lleida and Madrid, slowing down traffic with their tractors and blocking roads from time to time. Organized by messaging on social media groups, Spanish farmers staged their first major protest against the agricultural policies of both the European Union (EU) and the Spanish government. Traffic was blocked on major highways across the country.

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In the statements made by the unions of agricultural sector workers, the reasons for the protests were listed as follows: “Flexibility in EU agricultural policies, restrictions and stricter controls on products from non-EU countries, increased aid for drought, strengthened laws and control of the food chain from farm to market, and expanded insurance rights for farmers.”

Farmers’ unions have announced daily demonstrations in different cities, with the largest demonstrations planned for February 13 in Catalonia and February 21 in the capital Madrid.

ITALIAN FARMERS TARGET ROMA

Continuing their protests against the European Union’s (EU) agricultural policies, some farmers in Italy are heading to the capital Rome in a convoy of tractors. Farmers from Tuscany and other regions of Italy steered their tractors towards Rome.

The farmers, who are expected to reach the borders of Rome in the coming days, are expected to organize the biggest protest in recent weeks. According to the Italian newspaper La Stampa, one farmer said, “We will surround Rome. We will do it not only with tractors and not only for a few days.”

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Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said after the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, Belgium, that the EU had made mistakes in its agricultural policies and that these needed to change.

ANOTHER STEP BACK FROM THE EU

European Union (EU) Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the plan to reduce pesticide use by 50 percent has been abandoned following farmer protests.

Von der Leyen spoke about the problems of farmers at the European Parliament (EP) Plenary session in Strasbourg. Reminding that the Commission prepared a proposal two years ago to reduce the risks of chemical plant protection products, von der Leyen stated that this proposal caused polarization.

Von der Leyen recalled that a legally binding plan to reduce pesticide use by 50 percent by 2030 had been rejected by the EP and that no progress had been made in the Council, where member states are represented, and that the Commission would withdraw its proposal for a regulation.

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The plan involved reducing the use of pesticides in member states to make Europe’s food system healthier and more environmentally friendly.

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