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“We must accelerate the pace”: the FNSEA warns the executive about a possible resumption of the agricultural movement

The president of the FNSEA Arnaud Rousseau warned the government on Sunday evening twelve days before the opening of the Agricultural Show, considering a resumption of actions by angry farmers if concrete efforts are not made by then .

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“We must accelerate the pace”: the FNSEA warns the executive about a possible resumption of the agricultural movement

The president of the FNSEA Arnaud Rousseau warned the government on Sunday evening twelve days before the opening of the Agricultural Show, considering a resumption of actions by angry farmers if concrete efforts are not made by then . “We are not at the right tempo (…), we must accelerate the tempo,” warned the boss of the first agricultural union, interviewed on BFMTV ahead of the opening in Paris of this major annual meeting (24 February-March 3) where a number of politicians are expected, including the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron.

Arnaud Rousseau explained that he must be received by Prime Minister Gabriel Attal on Tuesday afternoon but that "for 10 days" and the suspension of dams and farmers' actions, he has "not had a ministerial meeting" nor with the Minister of Agriculture nor with the Prime Minister, and “no follow-up point”. “There are twelve days left” before the opening of the show, “for everyone to do their work,” he said, being surprised not to have had any “progress points”. “When there is no meeting scheduled, no phone call made, yes that worries us,” particularly in terms of breeding.

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“We put very concrete proposals on the table (…). If we were made fun of, obviously it could not happen in the classic conditions of welcoming the President of the Republic on the first Saturday of the opening of the show,” warned Arnaud Rousseau. After two weeks of road blockages and sometimes tumultuous actions, the demonstrators broke camp at the beginning of February after three bursts of announcements from Prime Minister Gabriel Attal on subjects as diverse as pesticides, farmers' pensions or meat. synthesis.

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“We want to see concrete decisions that are seen on the farms,” said the head of the FNSEA, even if “we understand that, regarding the law, we need a little delay.” On February 2, he raised the idea of ​​a law by June. “No one has any interest in walking around with us. Because if there is no meeting, in the end we will come back,” he insisted on Sunday, once again outlining a possible resumption of the farmers’ movement. Questioned on Franceinfo this Monday, Arnaud Rousseau ruled out the resumption of a national movement for the moment, but he assured that measures “at the initiative of the departments” will take place in the coming weeks, aimed at supermarkets.

However, there is no question of boycotting the Agricultural Show, a major annual meeting for the French agricultural world. “We don’t want to make it a moment of tension,” assured the head of the FNSEA, who believes that “the agricultural world does not threaten”. The representative hopes, however, that the start date of the Show will be seen as an ultimatum for the executive. “The president is very aware that we need to provide answers before the show. We are not going to give up until then,” he maintained.

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On the national level, the head of the FNSEA hopes in particular for progress concerning the Ecophyto pesticide reduction plan. According to him, the national tool does not allow the efforts made by French farmers to be taken into account in terms of the use of pesticides. “Between 2009 and 2014, we went from 5,000 tonnes to 47 tonnes of pesticides,” maintains Arnaud Rousseau. The agricultural union is campaigning for France to take the European indicator, “solid and robust”, as a reference. In addition to the indicator, Arnaud Rousseau also wants progress on the “declarative” level to move away from “over-transposed French legislation”. He says he expects “very concrete measures” on this point between now and the opening of the Show.

The agricultural union's grievances also concern Brussels. Arnaud Rousseau thus criticized the lack of European decision-making on fallowing obligations, a practice which consists of letting agricultural land rest. “When we import twice as much sugar, for example from Ukraine, we cannot ask European farmers to set up fallow land,” said the leader of the FNSEA. The latter hopes that before June, the date of the European elections, certain agricultural subjects will be reopened, such as the functioning of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) or the “industrial emissions directive” applicable to pig and poultry farms.

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