The farmer demonstrations across Europe are growing

01 February 2024

Political leaders have been taken away by the widespread farmer protests that are sweeping the European Union, although the unrest has been simmering for years. Farmers face a plethora of difficulties, such as growing debt, competitive pressure from low-cost imports from overseas, the impact of catastrophic weather occurrences, and pressure from influential retailers and pesticide corporations. Smaller farmers’ difficulties are exacerbated by the fact that all of this is happening under a subsidy system that frequently benefits bigger businesses.

The situation has become more complex due to the conflict in Ukraine. Although crop prices experienced a brief surge, trade flows were hampered by Russia’s actions, leading to a glut of supply that negatively impacted farmers. The first to take a stand last spring, halting border crossings, were Polish farmers. Since then, other EU nations like Germany and France have seen similar protests, forming a unified front of unhappiness.

Farmers’ specific issues differ from nation to nation. Farmers in France are protesting against environmental restrictions and free-trade agreements that they believe are hurting their profitability, while protesters in Germany are centered around government cuts to fuel subsidies. Nevertheless, despite these divisions, there are common complaints, particularly with regard to increases in input and energy costs and a decline in the real prices that farmers get paid for their produce.