Farmers in Romania, France and Germany continue road convoy protests


Farm workers say environmental policies and taxes are eroding their profits and are calling for more government subsidies.


Farmer protests have broken out in Romania, Germany and France, ahead of European elections in June.

While their demands vary overall, they say they are most affected by environmental reforms and need more government subsidies to offset them.


In Romania, for a week and a half now, farmers and truck drivers have been clogging the main roads with their tractors and trucks.

They are calling for lower taxes and fairer benefits, but so far talks with the government have failed and they continue to protest. They are also angry about the rising cost of insurance for heavy machinery.


Farmers joined eco-activists in Berlin on Saturday.

Farmers say they fully support environmentally friendly and non-genetically modified agriculture, but for this they need subsidies or, at least, fair prices for their products.

But they say the government has hesitated to implement such measures despite making its demands to Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir.

Farmers have been on the streets since December, when the federal government agreed to a budget that erases several decades-old agricultural subsidies and benefits. This could have saved farmers over 480 million euros. Subsequently, Berlin decided to soften the plans, making benefit cuts gradual.


In southern France, mass protests in recent days have forced the government to address farmers’ issues. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal will meet the president of the National Federation of Agricultural Operators Unions (FNSEA) on Monday.

Earlier, farmers had promised to block some highways until Attal listened to their demands. The FNSEA said it will decide next week whether to require nationwide action.

Farmers say the authorities’ ecological transition policies make domestic producers uncompetitive. It not only makes farms unprofitable, but forces France to buy food from countries where environmental standards are weaker, in their opinion.

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