Agriculture : Over 1,000 tractors in Brussels

Farmers are expressing their anger in Brussels on the sidelines of the meeting of the 27 EU agriculture ministers. Hundreds of tractors invaded the streets of the European quarter. Clashes broke out with the police.

Emmanuel Macron’s promises and soothing words at the Paris Agricultural Show on Saturday have not calmed the anger of farmers, either in France or in other European countries. Proof of this can be seen in the rather muscular demonstration this Monday by representatives of agricultural unions in the European capital, where a meeting of the 27 EU agriculture ministers is being held.

Always the same demands

What do these farmers from all over Europe want? They all have the same demands, which they express again and again. They are asking Europe to take concrete measures to get out of free-trade agreements, and to put an end to negotiations on the EU-Mercosur agreement. They do not refuse to import products. But they do want agricultural products imported onto European soil to be produced to the same environmental and administrative standards as those imposed by Europe on Europeans. Yet most imported goods – fruit and vegetables, eggs, poultry, beef, mutton, pork and cereals – are produced to standards that are not as stringent as those in Europe. This is unfair and unacceptable competition.

The Ukrainian chicken scandal

An example: poultry from the Ukraine. For weeks, Polish farmers have been blocking lorries carrying poultry from the Ukraine. Ukrainian chicken is a threat to them as it is to all EU farmers. The production of the industry’s giant, Myronivsky Hliboprodukt (MHP), registered in Cyprus and listed in London, is run by the oligarch Yuriy Kosyuk, who himself lives under coconut trees. MHP owns huge factory farms that produce around three hundred million chickens a year, whereas Europe doesn’t allow hen houses larger than 20,000 animals.
What’s worse is that, in its indulgence, Europe helped the Ukrainian billionaire to get even richer thanks to the lifting of customs duties decided at the start of the war against Russia. As a result, Brussels has contributed to the impoverishment of European poultry farmers. The same goes for sheep and pork farmers, etc.

“This can’t go on,” explains one Polish farmer. The Ukrainian poultry that arrives in Poland goes back to every country under the label, “European origin”. This is a lie!
All European farmers are united in their demand for decent incomes, pointing out that one farmer commits suicide every two days.