French Farmers Union to Suspend Protests Pending Govt Pledge

27 February 2024

Title: French Government Moves to Resolve Agricultural Crisis with Union Commitments

In a significant development aimed at resolving the ongoing agricultural crisis, France is on the path to de-escalation following constructive dialogue with farmers’ unions. The main unions have expressed a willingness to suspend their protests, contingent upon receiving written confirmation of the government’s pledges.

The government’s recent announcements have been met with cautious optimism by union representatives, who have deemed them generally satisfactory. However, they have also highlighted the need for further clarification on certain issues. The largest union, FNSEA, alongside JA, has advocated for a temporary halt to blockades, emphasizing that the movement will evolve rather than cease entirely. They underscored the “concrete progress” made and indicated a readiness to resume mobilizations if necessary, particularly during the influential Paris Agricultural Fair.

One of the key points of contention, the Ecophyto project, which seeks to reduce pesticide use, will be put on hold pending simplification and the identification of a new indicator. Additionally, France will enforce a ban on importing agricultural products treated with thiacloprid, an insecticide permitted in Europe but not within its borders.

France also plans to propose the establishment of a European coordinating audit force at the next European Commission session. This initiative aims to combat health fraud across the EU’s 27 member states by fostering coordinated efforts among national audit authorities.

Furthermore, the government is considering a “safeguard clause” against Ukrainian products and has committed to allocating 150 million euros for tax and social relief to livestock farmers with specific needs.

In response to concerns over fair remuneration for farmers, a massive audit of supermarket chains and food industries will be conducted. These entities are suspected of bypassing the Fair Farmers’ Remuneration Act through central procurement agencies and European market collaborations. Notably, Carrefour’s potential alliance with Sclavenitis has raised alarms about its impact on farmers’ livelihoods.

Misleading labeling practices are also under scrutiny, with 10,000 checks initiated on food industries and potential fines amounting to 10% of distributors’ turnover for non-compliance.

Lastly, proposals concerning farmers’ pensions and tax exemptions for farm business sales to young professionals are under review. These measures aim to facilitate generational continuity in farming.

The Prime Minister acknowledges the significant cost of these measures but views them as a vital investment in the nation’s agricultural future.

Source: KYPE,

agricultural crisis

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