Third farmers' protest in Brussels sees 150 tractors gather in European quarter

Farmers demonstrated in Brussels on Tuesday morning for the third time, with 150 tractors blocking Rue de la Loi in the European quarter. The demonstration was organised by the FUGEA and ECVC movements, which are criticising the lack of solutions to support the farming industry and protect it against unfair competition.

The first tractors moved towards Place du Luxembourg at around 23.00 on Monday evening. Rue de la Loi was blocked on Tuesday morning, as was the Schuman roundabout.

A column of tractors blocked traffic at around 9.40 on the E40 at Sterrebeek, according to the Brussels police. "We can confirm that tear gas was used and tractors were immobilised, as farmers were trying to force their way through a police checkpoint with tractors," a statement said.

"While we acknowledge that some progress has been made, we demand an adequate response to our key demands"

Farmers are demanding an end to free trade agreements with countries outside Europe, which they believe encourages unfair competition and results in lower incomes. A specific point of contention is the EU-Mercosur agreement, a free trade agreement with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

“While we acknowledge that some progress has been made, we demand an adequate response to our key demands,” the farmers' organisations said in a joint press release.

According to the organisations, European directives on unfair commercial practices must also be strengthened. They want prices to be fixed by law so they can continue to cover their production costs. The EU's common agricultural policy should guarantee and protect fair competition between member states. Many farmers also have problems with the administrative burden.

"Thsi is the third time we have come here. We are not doing this for pleasure. Spring is here; we have work to do," said Louis Duhem, a farmer from Wallonia. "We are here to achieve fair competition with countries outside Europe. They do not have to adhere to health rules or other legislation."

Duhem fears for his future in the industry. "We are young, we want to settle down and build our future. But I'm afraid I won't be able to make a living from my work."


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