Angry farmers: Thousands of tractors block roads in Spain

Thousands of farmers demonstrated on Tuesday February 6 in different regions of Spain, blocking several roads with tractors

Angry farmers: Thousands of tractors block roads in Spain

Thousands of farmers demonstrated on Tuesday February 6 in different regions of Spain, blocking several roads with tractors. They are protesting against European agricultural policy and denouncing the precariousness reigning in the sector. Mobilized at the call of a federation of regional agricultural unions called Unión de Uniones (the Union of Unions), but also of groups organized on WhatsApp messaging, the demonstrators are demanding measures to address the difficulties faced by many farms .

According to the General Directorate of Traffic, this mobilization resulted on Tuesday morning in dozens of snail operations and blockages, particularly in the provinces of Zamora (Northwest), Toledo (center), Seville (South), Murcia (South-East) and Girona (North-East).

There is “no shortage of reasons for anger,” assures the Unión de Uniones, which denounces pell-mell a European policy that is too complex, standards that are too restrictive, incomes that are too low and competition deemed unfair from foreign products imported into Europe.

“Bureaucratic burdens” and historic drought

A message relayed by the three main Spanish agricultural unions (Asaja, Coag, and UPA), which are not participating in Tuesday's movement but have planned other demonstrations in the coming days, notably Thursday in Salamanca (center) and Huesca (north). ) as well as Friday in Bilbao (North). These three unions were urgently received on Friday by the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, who pledged to “work” to respond to the crisis in the sector. This meeting, however, was not enough to calm the anger of the farmers.

Questioned Tuesday morning on public radio RNE, the Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, said she understood the “concerns” of farmers, faced with heavy “bureaucratic burdens” and a historic drought which is affecting harvests. “We must modulate the European sustainability objectives, what we call green Europe, at the pace required by the sector,” said the socialist minister, while denouncing the “manipulation” to which these environmental rules are currently being carried out. object.

The European Green Deal – embodied in a series of environmental laws, most of which have not yet come into force – is strongly criticized in Spain by the far-right Vox party, which accuses it of wanting to “destroy” the Iberian agriculture.

Spain, often referred to as the "vegetable garden of Europe", is the leading European exporter of fruits and vegetables. The Spanish agricultural sector is nevertheless in difficulty, notably due to the lack of rain which has been affecting the country for three years.