French farmers have intensified their protest efforts this week, blocking strategic motorways around the country, amid mounting farmer tension around Europe.

Alongside blocking roads with tractors, including an indefinite “siege” of Paris, French farmers have sprayed manure on public buildings, dumped rotting produce and covered roads with soil.

The National Federation of Agricultural Operators’ Unions (La FNSEA) outlined the reasons for the protests as inconsistencies in regulations, the need for fair renumeration and reestablishing fair conditions of practice.

The Mercosur trade deal and imports from Ukraine have been highlighted by French farmers as key issues. This comes as farmer protests gather momentum in many EU countries. In recent weeks, large scale protests were staged by farmers in Germany. In Belgium, the port of Zeebrugge was blocked by tractors.


Closer to home, farmers in Waterford gathered over the N25 at Kilmacthomas to show support for their European counterparts on Tuesday night.

“We saw what was happening across Europe and we wanted to empathise with them. We feel that we are being legislated out of business,” Mark Connors from Kilmacthomas IFA said.

Open letter

Copa-Cogeca, the umbrella group for European Union (EU) farmers and agri-cooperatives, published an open letter to president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday.

The letter, signed by president of Copa Christiane Lambert and president of Cogeca Lennart Nilsson, said farmers have spoken out in recent years but have not been heard.

“As a result, the situation is currently very tense in many [EU] member states, with farmers taking to the streets, as the survival of European family farming as it is known today, is in danger.”

It outlined three areas that need to be addressed: derogations under CAP, adapting the next Ukraine autonomous trade measures proposal and a level playing field to ensure fair trade.

French president Emmanuel Macron said he will raise agricultural issues with von der Leyen at an EU leaders’ summit that takes place this coming Thursday.

Last week, the French government announced concessions to farmers in the form of freezing tax on green diesel, reducing bureaucracy and quicker payment of CAP funds, with more concessions promised.

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Waterford farmers gather in solidarity with European counterparts

French farmers to begin ‘siege’ of Paris