THE First Deputy Prime Minister of Spain and Minister of Finance, Maria Jesus Montero, has claimed it is “evident” that farmer protests across Spain are being manipulated by the far-right. 

Montero, 57, said the end destination for Saturday’s planned protests – Ferraz in Madrid, where the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) have their headquarters – is evidence of the far-right using the protests for political gain.

“Ferraz has traditionally been the location where the far-right gather, who have always wanted to make intolerance their way of doing politics”, Montero told journalists on Thursday morning. 

Farmers have protested across Spain. Credit: Cordon Press

Montero has previously criticised the far-right for “politicising” everything in order to try to “challenge the established order and overthrow the government of Pedro Sanchez.

The Sevilla-born socialist claimed that Sanchez’s government had “always” been on the side of agriculture, demonstrated by new food chain laws, hundreds of millions of euros in aid, and a re-negotiation to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which provides subsidies to farmers.

“It is a priority of the government and of course we will continue to support a sector that is fundamental to the economy”, she said.

Agricultural anger has swept across Spain with farmers voicing their anger over working conditions and unfair competition.

Primer Consejo De Ministros Con Periodistas En La Sala Del Complejo De La Moncloa Desde El Estado De Alarma
Maria Jesus Montero, the deputy PM, has claimed that the far-right are hijacking the farmer protests. Credit: Cordon Press

The protests, often in the form of roadblocks, come as part of European-wide demonstrations demanding fair competition with overseas producers, such as nearby Morocco.

Agricultural leaders claim that imports from other countries fail to conform to EU internal regulations, so homegrown producers are undercut by foreign farmers who can afford to offer lower prices for their produce.

Farmers are also angry at excessive EU red tape which they claim makes it harder to turn a profit.

Santiago Abascal
The government fear that the farmer protests will fuel a surge in support for far-right populist parties such as Vox. Credit: Cordon Press

There are fears that increasing tension in Spain could play into the hands of populist parties such as Vox.

Similar protests in Poland, Romania and Belgium helped to fuel a surge in support for right-wing parties.

Far-right Geert Wilders won a shock election victory in the Netherlands last year after farmers revolted against green measures designed to cut nitrogen emissions.

Spain’s government, tenuously composed of a coalition between Sanchez’s PSOE and Catalan separatists, fear that a widespread agricultural revolt could threaten the current administration.

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