in Spain, farmers are determined to continue their mobilization

As a few days ago in France, Spanish farmers are protesting in particular against “unfair competition” and the accumulation of standards.


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Farmers demonstrate on an expressway in Barcelona (Spain), February 7, 2024. (PAU BARRENA / AFP)

Some, in France, seem to be calming down. The others in Spain are ready to take over. At the call of the three main organizations in the sector, thousands of farmers made their voices heard on Thursday February 8 on the other side of the Pyrenees. Demonstrations were called in four provinces, the equivalent of our departments, the others will follow over the coming weeks.

Engines and tractor horns and cowbells, cattle bells, are the soundtrack of Spanish farmers’ demonstrations. In Ávila, northwest of Madrid, we meet in front of its famous Romanesque wall. Thursday was the first official mobilizations, convened by the major organizations in the sector and authorized by the authorities. Farmers say they want to support or extend the mobilizations of their counterparts in Germany, Italy or France. Their demands and their fears, moreover, are quite similar.

“Absurd bureaucracy”

Mariano Calle raises 200 cows in Tremedal, a mountainous village in the department; he traveled to Ávila. “We risk suffering from unfair competition if we bring in products from countries which are not part of the European Union and which are not subject to the same controls as us. Mercosur can hurt us very much because the Brazil is a major meat producer that can cut prices throughout the European Union. And then we put up with absurd bureaucracy. A breeder can easily waste four, six or ten hours a week on paperwork.”

Fear of competition from third countries, therefore, and rejection of an accumulation of standards that they consider poorly made and too restrictive. “The standards are coming from Europe and they are already tough, denounces Antonio Martin, cereal farmer. But then they arrive in Spain, and they are more restrictive, they arrive in the region, they toughen them, they arrive in the department and they make them even tougher. We can’t sow what we want, we can’t plow when it rains.

“What they want is agriculture for mosquitoes! Let the weeds grow and the mosquitoes be happy.”

Antonio Martin, grain farmer

at franceinfo

Antonio gets back in his tractor. 150 of these agricultural vehicles traveled the main avenues of Ávila. In front of the prefecture, a banner “The campaign can’t take it anymore” was deployed by union officials. Another, more discreet, served as a warning: “Without the countryside, you won’t eat.”

The anger of farmers in Spain: report by Mathieu de Taillac

source site-29