The president of the main French agricultural union announced Monday, January 22, that “actions” would be taken “as long as it is necessary,” as farmers’ anger spreads across Europe without sparing France. Numerous mobilizations are continuing in France, particularly in Occitania.

Before a meeting Monday evening with the Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, Arnaud Rousseau, the president of the FNSEA once again asked for “concrete answers” ​​to the “desperation” of farmers.

“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, on France Inter. These actions will concern “each department”, he said, stressing that “the rise in tension is strong, hence the need to provide concrete responses”.

The Prime Minister, faced with his first crisis since his appointment on January 11, will receive Arnaud Rousseau and his Young Farmers (JA) counterpart, Arnaud Gaillot, Monday at 6 p.m. If the government is “not there”, “we could be at the dawn of a big agricultural movement”, declared the president of the JA on Monday morning, on France 2.

Blocking the A64 motorway

Since Thursday evening, several dozen operators have been blocking the A64 motorway, which links Toulouse to Bayonne, near Carbonne, in Haute-Garonne. On Monday, farmers also blocked access to the Golfech nuclear power plant, in Tarn-et-Garonne.

Demonstrations provoked by financial burdens and environmental standards considered too heavy, recurring reasons for discontent in the profession that the government has been trying to manage for years to avoid opening a new social front.

In December, former Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced to the FNSEA and the JA the abandonment of tax increases on pesticides and irrigation, arousing the irritation of environmental organizations and water stakeholders.

The government fears a conflagration because, from the Netherlands to Romania via Poland and Germany, farmers are stepping up actions against tax increases and the European Green Deal. All this against a backdrop of inflation and competition from Ukrainian imports.

The United Kingdom is not spared: fruit and vegetable producers will demonstrate on Monday in front of Parliament in London to protest against the “unfair” purchasing contracts which bind them to mass distribution.

Agriculture bill postponed

In France, the profession is also scalded by the successive postponements of the agricultural bill, promised more than a year ago by Emmanuel Macron and ultimately less ambitious than the “agricultural orientation law” initially announced.

On Sunday, the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, announced a new deadline. The text, which was to be presented to the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, will only be presented in “a few weeks” with the aim of being debated in Parliament “in the first half of 2024”.

The bill that the government must present intends to promote generational renewal in agriculture, a necessity at a time when the population of nearly 500,000 farm managers is aging.

Less than five months before the European elections, the oppositions are courting the agricultural world. Starting with Jordan Bardella, president and head of the list of the National Rally, who on Saturday castigated the wine-producing Gironde as “Macron’s Europe which wants the death of our agriculture”.

Both the right and the left have asked the executive to renounce increasing taxation on non-road diesel, a progressive measure, negotiated this summer between the Ministry of the Economy and the majority union FNSEA, in exchange for compensation.

Operators “have no other choice but to use them,” noted the head of the Communist Party, Fabien Roussel, on Sunday. We must “immediately renounce this measure”, affirmed the leader of the Les Républicains deputies, Olivier Marleix, providing “very clearly” his support for the mobilization. On the Brussels side, a meeting of agriculture ministers is planned for the start of the week.