Leading French farmers’ union warns motorway blockades could resume

The head of France’s biggest farming union – the FNSEA – says farmers could resume protests that hit the sector last month if the government does not meet their demands for better pay and working conditions. 

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The government is in talks with farmers over securing them higher selling prices to supermarkets and loosening regulation and red tape which farmers have said was a burden on their businesses.

However, FNSEA head Arnaud Rousseau said that, with 10 days to go until the start of the annual agricultural show in Paris, the government was not doing enough.

“We are not moving at the right pace,” Rousseau told French TV station TF1 on Tuesday morning.

Asked if farmers could restart the roadblocks that disrupted many motorways in January, Rousseau replied: “Very probably.”

Ahead of a meeting between Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and the FNSEA later today, Agriculture Minister Christophe Béchu told franceinfo public radio that he “understood farmers’ impatience but that we shouldn’t confuse speed and precipitation”.

France’s two major farmers unions suspended protests and lifted road nationwide blockades on 1 February following a raft of government concessions. They included an annual 150 million euros for livestock farmers, a pause on measures to restrict pesticide use and a halt in imposing stricter regulation on its farmers than EU rules require.

Farmers across Europe – in countries such as Poland, Spain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands – have demonstrated over t over the last month for more money and better working conditions.

(with newswires)


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