3 Jun, 2024 @ 12:27
1 min read

Farmer protests in Spain: Tractors block roads along the border with France

FARMER strikes have returned to Spain with hundreds of tractors blocking the border with France as angry protesters seek to pile pressure on the European Union ahead of Sunday’s crunch European elections.

The demonstration, called by the protest group Revolta Pagesa (Peasant Revolt), began on Tuesday morning at 10am with coordination between Spanish and French farmers who have grown tired over their respective governments’ agricultural policies. 

The blockades affect all border crossings between the two countries from Irun in the Basque Country to La Jonquera in Catalunya, with officials warning travellers to account for high levels of disruption near the frontier. 

Around 40 tractors arriving from the Catalan city of Figueres cut the AP-7 road to the north at the main border crossing of La Jonquera, with other blockades taking place on both sides of the border. 

The protest is set to last for 24 hours as frustrated farmers vent their fury on the eve of the European elections, with voters across the EU heading to the polls on June 9.

Revolta Pagesa, the leading group behind the mobilisation, have said they want to ‘pressure’ the EU to achieve ‘better food security’, urging the French and Spanish governments to ‘start negotiations’ and ‘find satisfactory solutions’ for their range of demands.

READ MORE: Why are farmers striking in Spain and when will they stop?

Protestors want changes to EU import legislation, which they claim allows them to be undercut by foreign growers who can offer their produce for less, priority given to local, homegrown products, and a cut on green taxes levied on energy used in food production.

The group have warned that they ‘will not stop’ until their demands are reached.

The General Association of Autonomous Truck Drivers of Catalunya (AGTC), which represents lorry drivers, have criticised the protest with over 11,000 trucks unable to cross the border.

The group claims that the ‘radical’ protests will lead to ‘unjustified losses’ of millions of euros.

The protest is not supported by Catalunya’s largest agricultural body, the Farmer’s Union, who have claimed it would be ‘illegitimate’ to protest in the midst of the European election campaign.

Farmer strikes first spread to Spain in early February, with unions across the country blocking roads and key highways with their tractors, causing chaos for drivers and commuters. 

Protesters across the EU lobbied the EU to pause the negotiation of trade deals with New Zealand, Chile, Kenya, Mexico, India, Australia and Mercosur, the South American trading bloc, arguing that imports from these countries represent unfair competition as farmers in the EU are restricted by more legislative red tape and paperwork. 

In response, the Spanish government had committed to a number of concessions, including maintaining a subsidy for farmers using diesel, re-shaping food chain laws, and asking EU bureaucrats in Brussels to simplify the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which provides subsidies for producers.

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