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Spanish farmers protest in Madrid despite EU concessions

The demo, organized by the Union of Unions, is in response to EU regulations on the environment which they see as cost-prohibitive. The EU said it would take steps to ease its rules, but the union said it is not enough.

Thousands of Spanish farmers once again protested with tractors in Madrid on Sunday, demanding better prices for their produce and denouncing European Union agricultural policies.

The farmers argue that the EU’s policies on the environment and other matters are a financial burden and make their products more expensive than non-EU imports.

Spanish farmers: ‘We are not delinquents’

The farmers marched from the Ministry of Ecological Transition to the Ministry of Agriculture after the EU proposed legislative changes to ease the environmental rules of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Friday.

This is the second demonstration organized by the Union of Unions, and they have vowed to increase the pressure if there is no response

Harnessed by their trade union, farmers carried banners proclaiming “We are not delinquents” to the sound of horns and whistles, with the tractors coming principally from Madrid, Castilla y Leon and Castilla La Mancha.

“It is as if they want to cut off our necks,” the AFP news agency quoted Marcos Baldominos as saying about his vehicle which was adorned with a mock guillotine.

“We are being suffocated by European rules,” the farmer from Pozo de Guadalajara, 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Madrid, added.

Spanish farmers vent their frustrations over EU regulations

Friday’s EU concessions aimed to loosen compliance with some environment rules, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, but the Union of Unions said they don’t go far enough.

Union frustrated with EU bureaucracy 

Luis Cortes, from the trade union, warned the Spanish government that if there are no solutions for the sector, the “pressure” and tension will increase again, after first calling for a response last month.

Cortes argues that the regulations should focus on helping farmers to improve crop quality and not only on reducing environmental obligations. “What they should do is a proper environmental regulation and not mix it with agriculture,” he said during Sunday’s protest.

It is not the first time Spanish farmers have vented the frustration with EU bureaucracy. On February 21, some 500 tractors in five convoys arrived in Madrid, calling for fairer prices, less bureaucracy related to environmental measures and more state aid.

Source: Dw

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