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ANC protests spread in France
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ANC protests spread in France

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French farmers blocking major roads have extended their action this week in protest at proposed changes to the areas eligible for Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) payments.
French farmers blocking major roads have extended their action this week in protest at proposed changes to the areas eligible for Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) payments.

Protesters have used tractors, trailers, burning straw and tyres to stage road blocks on motorways and access roads to major towns across the country. The protests started in the south-western region of the country at the end of January and remain intense there, with local media reporting a blockade of all roads leading to the town of Auch since Monday. They have spread northwards towards Paris this week, with the main motorway connecting the capital to the region cut off by protesters this Wednesday.

Farming organisations oppose the removal of eligibility to ANC payments from a number of areas. At a meeting with farmer representatives, French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Travert said the number of French farmers eligible to ANC payments would increase from 52,500 to 60,000. However, he acknowledged that new criteria had led to the exclusion of less severely handicapped areas from the map to be submitted by France to the European Commission next month.

In Ireland, where 95,000 farmers are currently in the ANC scheme, the Department of Agriculture has not yet given details of the map resulting from new criteria for application next year.

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