Agricultural Show: after the FNSEA refused to participate in the debate desired by Macron, the Elysée concedes an “error” and assures that the Earth Uprisings were not “invited”

A big debate that turns into a quack

Agricultural Show: after the FNSEA refused to participate in the debate desired by Macron, the Elysée concedes an “error” and assures that the Earth Uprisings were not “invited”

A big debate that turns into a quack. The president of the National Federation of Farmers' Unions (FNSEA), Arnaud Rousseau, announced on Friday February 23 in the morning that he would not participate in the dialogue desired by Emmanuel Macron with the agricultural world at the Agricultural Show, the opening day, Saturday. At issue: the invitation – since withdrawn – to the Earth Uprising collective.

At midday, in a message published on the press ahead of the event”. “The invitations (…) concern farmers, agricultural unions, agri-food industries, distributors and environmental associations represented in the bodies. In addition, contacts were made with groups that have disrupted the show in the past to offer them constructive expression as part of this exchange,” the presidency further clarified.

The invitation from the Earth Uprisings – which the government wanted dissolved a few months ago – angered Arnaud Rousseau. “Politics is something other than communications or shows. And at the moment we are in, [this invitation] sends the image back to farmers that ultimately nothing has been understood about their problems,” he said Friday morning on BFM-TV.

“I will not be the actor in something that I consider particularly cynical and which does not allow dialogue in good conditions,” said the president of the majority agricultural union. “The president will do what he wants, I will not participate in this debate. »

However, the president of the FNSEA judges that “the idea that farmers can express their anger to the President of the Republic (…) so that he hears the realities of the deep anger that exist on the ground” is “important”. The extended invitation to the Earth Uprisings plunged the FNSEA into “strong incomprehension,” said Mr. Rousseau, who asserts that “it was widespread, including throughout the government.”

Before the Elysée was finalized, the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, dissociated himself from this invitation, judging it “inopportune given the context”. The Earth Uprisings constitute “a collective whose model of expression is rather the Molotov cocktail,” he said in the TF1 morning show. “So we don’t argue with these people. »


Late Thursday afternoon, the presidency announced its intention to organize a major exchange between the Head of State and "all stakeholders in the agricultural world", Saturday, "to outline the future » of the sector. But the organization of this debate modeled on the model of the major discussions set up during the “yellow vest” crisis was immediately thwarted by the refusal of the president of the FNSEA – and that of the Young Farmers – to allow Les Uprisings to participate. of the earth.

The Elysée initially decided to backpedal and announced that the movement was no longer invited “to guarantee the serenity of the debates”. “Arnaud Rousseau put pressure not to come face to face with us and Macron went to bed,” Les Uprisings of the Earth reacted on X on Friday morning, adding: “Let him be reassured: we would not have participated to this deception, but thanks for the show! ".

The debate is planned to last at least two hours and was supposed to bring together the main leaders of the agricultural unions (FNSEA, Young Farmers, Rural Coordination, Peasant Confederation, etc.), but also representatives of mass distribution and industrialists. Several leaders of environmental associations are also invited, such as the Climate Action and Future Generations Network. “All stakeholders will be able to give their point of view, make proposals, compare ideas,” promised the presidency.

The delays surrounding this debate come as farmers, angry for several weeks, maintain pressure on the government. On Wednesday, Mr. Attal summarized the dozens of commitments and projects already launched to respond to the anger of the agricultural world. New measures were announced on visas for foreign seasonal workers, pesticides, with the abandonment of a controversial indicator, and remuneration.

Tractor parades

These declarations do not prevent several protest actions throughout France. Two tractor parades are planned for Friday in Paris. The first, organized by the Rural Coordination, was to end around noon near Les Invalides. The second, led by the FNSEA and the Young Farmers, will end in front of the Agricultural Show in the early evening, with a weapons vigil planned before the doors open on Saturday.

On Thursday, around twenty actions took place in the territory (blockades of platforms, logistics bases, motorway interchanges, among others), a third of which had been initiated since Wednesday, according to a police source. Prefectures and sub-prefectures were also targeted. According to a police source, Spanish farmers are considering blockades at the border with France next week, hoping to be joined by French farmers.

Brussels again presented new proposals on Thursday to ease “the pressure” on farms, which relax the rules on meadows, limit the number of checks and grant a certain tolerance in the event of non-compliance with the rules of the common agricultural policy ( PAC) during extreme climatic episodes. These measures, likely to be adopted as early as March, will be examined on Monday by the agriculture ministers of the Twenty-Seven.

The FNSEA recognizes that the show presents itself this year “as an eminently political time”. Farmers are “strongly mobilized and attentive to the advances that will be presented to them,” says the union in a press release, but the organization also wants the event to remain a “festive time.”