Spanish Farmers Descend on Madrid Streets Amid EU Agriculture Summit

Thousands of Farmers Converge on Madrid Streets Amid Crucial EU Summit. At least 5,000 farmers and 100 tractors participate in a rally in the Spanish capital to voice grievances against EU agricultural policies.

Spanish Farmers Descend on Madrid Streets Amid EU Agriculture Summit


On Monday, thousands of Spanish farmers gathered once again in Madrid, this time coinciding with a significant agricultural summit in Brussels.

Government sources reported that a minimum of 5,000 farmers and 100 tractors took part in the demonstration in Madrid.

Unlike the previous week's massive farmer protest in Madrid, this demonstration was coordinated by the three primary agricultural unions in the country, which are engaged in discussions with the Spanish government.

In addition to the march in Madrid, protesters also directed their efforts towards the European Commission office located in the city.

The protest at the EU level corresponds with a meeting of the bloc's agricultural ministers in Brussels aimed at revising the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), a matter that has been a focal point of contention for farmers protesting across Europe.

Pedro Barato, president of the ASAJA farmers' union, questioned the efficacy of decision-makers in Brussels compared to the firsthand experience of farmers across Spain. "The EU needs to fundamentally reconsider its agricultural policy; it has reached an unsustainable point," remarked Miguel Padilla, leader of the COAG union.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, farmers clashed with law enforcement during a fervent protest that saw approximately 900 tractors converging in the city's European quarter.

Ahead of the summit, Spanish Agricultural Minister Luis Planas emphasized the need for systemic reform and cautioned against inadequate measures. "We are confronting a European challenge, thus necessitating a European remedy," he asserted. "We require a new European compact that addresses the concerns of our farmers and rural communities."

Planas advocated for relaxing certain environmental regulations, revising crop rotation policies, and reducing the administrative burdens on farmers, such as the requirement to submit geotagged photos of their activities.

He also proposed the incorporation of "mirror clauses" in trade agreements with non-EU nations to ensure alignment with European standards, particularly regarding banned chemical substances.

In addition to lobbying at the EU level, the Spanish government had previously announced a series of initiatives aimed at assuaging farmer grievances earlier in the month.

Nevertheless, protests led by farmers affiliated with various unions, both within and outside the three major associations, have persisted nationwide since early February. Leaders of these movements have indicated that the future of these demonstrations hinges, in part, on the outcomes of the EU agriculture summit held on Monday.

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Abdulkadir ŞEKER

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