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Farmers in Europe Keep Tractors Engines Running

Farmers throughout Europe have not ceased their protests, despite so-called “concessions” from the EU and individual governments.

A spectacular action took place in Biberach, Germany today, where farmers invaded the location where the Green Party was to have their traditional Ash Wednesday national meeting, with farmers building roadblocks and dumping manure before the building entrance. The Green Party was forced to cancel the meeting, with their ashes kicked.

As tractors and buses arrive in Rome for the national demonstration on Feb. 15, farmers in Eastern Europe are demonstrating against cheap imports from Ukraine. In Bulgaria, they blocked two main roads in the capital, Sofia, on Feb. 13, pouring milk in the streets and demanding the resignation of Agriculture Minister Kiril Vatev. Some clashes with the police were reported as they tried to enter the government building.

In Poland, farm group leaders have come to the defense of EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski after Polish Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz and the opposition made calls for his resignation. Jacek Zarzecki of the Union of Agricultural Producers recalled that Wojciechowski stood alone in the EU Commission against the continuation of liberalized trade rules with Ukraine.

“Wojciechowski has long put a lot of effort to make other EU decision-makers aware of the dangers resulting from excessive food imports from Ukraine,” Jerzy Wierzbicki of the Polish Union of Beef Cattle Breeders and Farmers told Euractiv.

In Greece, national farmers associations rejected Athens’ proposal and will decide on Feb. 15 what action they will take.

In Germany, an attempt by a ZDF television team to set up a farmer demonstration in the north as being pro-war was exposed by AfD blogger Alexander Raue and is fueling the existing farmers’ rage against mainstream media.

Farmers were protesting in Unterlüß, half-way between Hannover and Hamburg, as Chancellor Olaf Scholz was expected to inaugurate a new Rheinmetall weapons factory. At one point, a ZDF camera team came to the demonstration, preceded by a man carrying a huge sign saying “More weapons for Ukraine and for Germany,” and started to interview the guy. Farmers realized the set up and first kicked the guy out of the demonstration, eventually starting to boo him. Farmers interviewed by Raue were shocked by the degree of corruption and manipulation exhibited by State television, which is paid with their money.

Meanwhile, The EU Commission has formalized its “concession” to the farmers on “renaturation,” showing that a leopard cannot change its spots. Farmers are now exempted (but only until the end of the year) from the requirement of re-naturizing (not farming) 4% of the land, but Brussels is introducing a replacement requirement: Farmers will get PAC money if they use “a minimum of four percent of their arable land for non-productive land and features,” the EU official gazette said on Tuesday. In addition to fallow land, this also includes the cultivation of nitrogen-fixing plants such as lentils, peas and beans or catch crops.

The guideline is born dead. Farmers don’t like to be dictated to as to what they must cultivate.