Faced with the farmers' movement, the government postpones the presentation of its bill on agricultural installation

The bill on the installation of new farmers, which was to be presented to the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, will be postponed for “a few weeks” to be supplemented with a “simplification” component, against a backdrop of demonstrations, said Sunday 21 January, the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau.

“The bill was due to be introduced next week. To add some regulatory measures – there are still legal issues that we need to ask – let’s give ourselves a few weeks,” he declared during the show “Le Grand Jury” RTL-Paris Première -M6-Le Figaro, specifying that the objective was to see the text debated in Parliament “in the first half of 2024”.

Farmer demonstrations have been increasing in recent weeks, in France as elsewhere in Europe, against financial charges and environmental standards considered too heavy. For the fourth day in a row, highway 64 (A64) was still cut between Toulouse and Tarbes on Sunday due to the mobilization of Occitan farmers, while a filter dam must be installed on a national road in Ariège .

Occitan farmers wish to obtain from the State the emergency release of significant aid, in particular in the face of rising fuel prices and a bovine disease, epizootic hemorrhagic disease, and a water policy favorable to the irrigation of crops.

“Moment of exasperation”

A meeting lasting almost three hours on Saturday afternoon, between the prefect of Occitanie, Pierre-André Durand, and five representatives of the agricultural world, did not make it possible to decide on the lifting of the dam. The demonstrators, who promise “an intensification” of the blockages, demand the arrival of the Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal.

In Ariège, a filter barrier to be installed on a roundabout in Tarascon-sur-Ariège in the afternoon, the departmental prefecture has warned that “significant traffic difficulties are expected in both directions of traffic” .

Referring to the blockage of the A64 and an explosion at the end of the week in an empty building of the regional environment directorate (Dreal) in Carcasonne, the Minister of Agriculture called on RTL on Sunday to “distinguish between the sudden actions fist of violent actions”, unreservedly condemning “violence wherever it comes” and calling on everyone “to be responsible”. “I call on everyone not to enter into this one-upmanship,” he added, pleading for a lifting of the blockages in order to initiate “a dialogue” which allows “to provide concrete answers” ​​and in particular “ an acceleration” of administrative simplification for farmers.

Taking note of a “moment of exasperation” with the multiplication of angry demonstrations in the countryside, the minister assured “to be on the side of farmers” in the face of a triple crisis, of trust with society, of European standards in particular. and the agricultural model in the face of climate change.

Olivier Marleix supports blockages

On Sunday, the leader of the Republican deputies, Olivier Marleix, assured on France 3 that his party “very clearly supports” the farmers’ movement, “including blockages, unfortunately, when we have to be heard.” According to Mr. Marleix, it is above all the increase in taxation on non-road diesel (GNR) which “triggers anger” and “the government must immediately renounce this measure”. “The situation of our farmers is no longer tenable,” he said, referring to the legal risk in the event of misuse of pesticides: “We are making farmers into delinquents, so at one point there is a risk of the bowl. »

A point of disagreement with the boss of the deputies of La France Insoumise, Mathilde Panot, who declared on the same channel: “We need ecological standards. » There is, however, a “demand that is shared by everyone, very widely, and that is that we want to make a living from our work,” she added, recalling that her group had already proposed a “floor price so that farmers can live with dignity”, rejected “by six votes in the National Assembly, because of the Macronists and the LR”.

The national secretary of the Communist Party, Fabien Roussel, called on LCI for “a programming law for our agriculture” in order to remedy the difficulties of a profession which “survives below the poverty line”. Also asking to maintain the tax advantage on GNR, because farmers “have no other choice but to use it for their tractors”, he estimated that “we will not make the ecological transition against them “.