Why farmers are protesting in India and Europe? Explained

Written by  Prerit Chauhan   |  February 27th 2024 05:03 PM  |  Updated: February 27th 2024 05:03 PM

Why farmers are protesting in India and Europe? Explained

 Farmers in Punjab and Haryana, especially in India, have once again taken to the streets protesting against various issues, including Minimum Support Price (MSP). The announcement of a march to Delhi from February 13 has led to violent clashes and reported fatalities. Several farmer organisations have converged on the Punjab-Haryana border to press their demands.

Simultaneously, in Europe, farmers across countries such as France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Italy, and Greece have been staging massive demonstrations. On February 26, at least 1,000 tractors were mobilised in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, as farmers vehemently opposed the European Union's Green Deal policies.

The Green Deal 

The European Union introduced the European Green Deal, a new environmental policy aiming to reduce pesticide use by 50%, cut fertiliser usage by up to 20%, and promote organic farming. The overarching goal is to nearly eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 2050. European farmers, however, argue that the agenda was imposed without consulting them, potentially impacting production and income adversely.

European Farmers' Discontent with Import Policies and Ukraine

European farmers have expressed dissatisfaction with the import policies, particularly the import of cereals from Ukraine. The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has led European countries to support Ukraine indirectly. Economically weakened, Ukraine has become the seventh-largest wheat-producing country globally. European farmers, feeling the impact of imported grains on their livelihoods, have raised concerns about the devaluation of their produce.

Subsidies as a Key Factor in Europe

Germany and France, being the largest agricultural producers in the European Union, are facing protests against plans to eliminate diesel subsidies or tax exemptions. Farmers in Greece and Romania are also pushing for reduced taxes on diesel. The presence of subsidies is a significant factor in the discontent among European farmers, who feel that their low incomes are exacerbated by the subsidy cuts.

Why Farmers Chose This Time for Protests?

The protests in Europe come ahead of the European Union parliamentary elections scheduled for June 2024. Farmers view this period as a strategic opportunity to amplify their voices and influence policies that directly impact their lives. The use of tractors on roads, along with intense demonstrations, has proven effective in garnering attention and achieving some concessions from the authorities.

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