While farmers extended their nationwide blockades to the greater Paris area on Friday, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal presented a comprehensive package of relief measures in the evening.
The increase in taxation on agricultural diesel will be reversed, emergency aid of 100 million euros will be provided for farmers and the organic sector hit by storms, and aid will be mobilized for viticulture, which is suffering from overproduction, said Attal. A number of regulations and procedures would be simplified with immediate effect.
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“France loves its farmers”
“France is an agricultural power and a country that loves its farmers,” emphasized Attal during his visit to a farm near the Spanish border. Protection against unfair competition for farmers will be strengthened and industry and trade will be subjected to drastic penalties if they ignore the regulations in force in France, which are intended to ensure farmers a fair income. “We don’t want to be dependent on others for our food,” said Attal, calling on the population to buy French products if possible. Food from France should also be served in canteens.
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For the young prime minister, who only came into office a good two weeks ago, the spreading farmers’ protests are a baptism of fire, even before his government declaration next week. Lying on a bale of straw with his speech manuscript, Attal spoke to the farmers for almost an hour and stringed together announcements of relief that would usually take effect in a timely manner.
Meanwhile, the blockades in France became ever greater. In the south of the country alone, 400 kilometers of motorways were closed and, for the first time, motorways leading to the capital were blocked in the greater Paris area. On the sidelines of a protest in Perpignan in the south, an empty building belonging to an agricultural social fund also caught fire. In the evening, the agricultural associations wanted to react to the Prime Minister’s announcements and decide whether to continue the protests. These are directed against excessive standards and regulations, including from the EU, and farmers are also fighting for sufficient income.
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