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Farmers Rally in Brussels Demanding Action on Agricultural Crisis

In a fiery protest in Brussels, farmers set fire to piles of tires and clashed with riot police, demanding action on issues ranging from cheap supermarket prices to free trade deals. As EU agricultural ministers convened to address sectoral challenges, approximately 900 tractors jammed parts of the city, symbolizing farmers’ discontent.

The demonstrations reflect weeks of protests across Europe, highlighting concerns about the agricultural sector’s sustainability amidst pressures like low-cost imports and stringent environmental regulations. Farmers from Spain to Belgium called for reforms to the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and criticized bureaucratic burdens impeding their livelihoods.

EU proposals to alleviate farmer pressures include reducing farm inspections and exempting small farms from certain environmental standards. However, farmers argue that current policies prioritize paperwork over practical farming, hindering their ability to make a decent living.

German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir emphasized the need for farmers to earn fair wages while implementing biodiversity and green measures, criticizing existing EU policies as bureaucratic. The protests compelled the EU to backtrack on some aspects of its Green Deal environmental agenda, reflecting farmers’ concerns about income and the viability of ecological farming practices.

As the debate intensifies, farmers advocate for minimum support prices and urge the EU to reconsider free trade agreements that undercut local produce. For many, the protest encapsulates a fundamental desire for economic security and recognition of their contributions to society.

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