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Why are EU Farmers Protesting?

By David Salmonsen

Tractors are in the streets in Paris, Rome, Brussels and many other cities and towns across Europe this winter. The continuing farmer protests in several European countries have many motivations, some common to all and some particular to specific nations. European farmers are burdened by debt, the continuing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, lower grain prices due to disruptions from the war in Ukraine, climate-driven regulations, import competition and an agricultural support system that is not able to cope with these challenges.

It is also an election year in the European Union – for the EU Parliament in June 2024, with the formation of a new EU Commission also on the horizon. There are also upcoming national elections in several countries, including Austria, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

Specific nations have their individual reasons for protests. Farmers’ top concerns vary from Germans protesting government cuts in diesel subsidies to French protests against trade deals and environmental rules that add costs and lower production.

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