After the burning of the countryside, that of the highways? Arnaud Rousseau, president of the first French agricultural union, the FNSEA, announced Monday on France Inter the launch of farmers' actions throughout France, calling on the government to hear their "fed up" and their "anger" , before a meeting in Matignon. “I can tell you that from today and throughout the week and for as long as it is necessary, a certain number of actions will be carried out,” he declared, while several blockages have already taken place in Occitanie.
This Monday, farmers are standing together like almost everywhere in Europe to express their “deep anger” at the government's decision to postpone the “simplification” bill for the sector. A first major mission for the brand new Prime Minister Gabriel Attal who is due to receive the FNSEA and the Young Farmers this evening. Le Figaro takes stock.
“The anger that is being expressed is not new (...) and what is happening today is the overflow of Franco-French but also European measures that are expected,” is thus expressed by the president of the FNSEA, maintaining that “what farmers want is to restore a form of dignity to their profession, it is to talk about the questions of income and competitiveness (...) it is the whole subject of the daily exercise of the profession: how with the over-administration and the European variations of a certain number of rules, we are no longer in line with what is happening.
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For Arnaud Rousseau, these actions will concern “each department”. Likewise, the latter confirmed that the “maybe” had been lifted regarding the FNSEA's call to demonstrate. “To achieve our goals, violence is not an answer,” he added, in response to a question about several recent violent actions.
“We have too many constraints, we spend one day a week filling out paperwork (...) no financial compensation for the extra standards,” said Arnaud Gaillot, the president of Young Farmers. And to specify that “until the answers are provided”, his union will continue to support the blockages, particularly in Occitanie. Before launching: “If the government is not there, I am afraid that there will be other gatherings (...) We are not here to cause chaos, but we are in a country where if we don’t get to that point, it’s complicated to discuss.”
A speech shared by the vice-president of the FNSEA, Luc Smessaert, who said he was convinced this Monday that the movements would “grow day by day”. “In many French departments, action will expand,” he warned on RMC, while farmers are “fed up with broken promises.” “Today, elected officials understand and hear us, but we must move from words to action,” he said, calling for an end “with this groundswell of decline at the European level.”
The first voice from the government to speak on this subject this Monday, Prisca Thévenot reacted to the news this Monday morning “These men and women engaged every day in extremely hard and grueling work (...) express anger, conceded the government spokesperson on Europe 1 and CNews. This anger is legitimate, because it is the expression of misunderstandings but also of demands.” If she believes that we must “go further”, the Minister Delegate in charge of Democratic Renewal affirmed that the government was not starting “from a blank sheet”.
And to recall the measures put in place under the presidency of Emmanuel Macron: the protection of farmers' remuneration provided for by "the EGAlim 2 law" or the reform of harvest insurance in 2022. While conceding a lack of monitoring legislative... “Voting laws is good. Ensuring that they apply correctly (...), we must do it,” launched Prisca Thévenot.
At the same time this Monday morning, a fire broke out on the A64, which links Toulouse to Bayonne via Pau, in full mobilization of farmers. “When I arrived this morning at the blockade (in Carbonne, in Haute-Garonne, Editor’s note), malicious people decided to set fire to our straw wall of the resistance,” said Jérôme Bayle, breeder of cattle, who explains having made “all agricultural machinery” as well as “all water reserves” available in order to extinguish the fire, which had caused “no damage”.
Questioned on this subject this Monday on RMC, the breeder assured that there was “no damage”, and that the fire was not the fault of the farmers. “My call has been solemn from the beginning, it is “respect, solidarity, determination”. And when I speak of respect, I speak of national respect,” he continued, adding that with each blockage, it was not a question of completely blocking the passage of traffic but just of creating “slowdowns” , so that “people understand our plight”. “But I call for no degradation,” he concluded.
And the very first actions were already beginning to be seen on Monday, while access to the Golfech power plant, in Tarn-et-Garonne, was for example blocked this Monday morning by farmers, according to the gendarmerie. In Golfech, “farmers are blocking the various access points to the nuclear power plant”, indicated the Tarn-et-Garonne gendarmerie, specifying that the prefecture was to hold a press point in the morning.
Another action was also announced in the west of Occitanie, farmers having to “gather around 10:00 a.m. at the Perpignan-sud toll”, according to the Pyrénées-Orientales gendarmerie. Farmers are protesting in particular against rising costs, standards considered excessive and a lack of consideration, all factors which, according to them, penalize their activity.