Against the Green Deal and favoring small farmers. Farmers also protested in Prague

Against the Green Deal and favoring small farmers. Farmers also protested in Prague
Against the Green Deal and favoring small farmers. Farmers also protested in Prague

Farmers protested against the subsidy policy of the government and the European Union (EU) in front of the Prague Congress Center on Thursday morning. It was attended by less than a dozen people, the event ended before noon. Farmers demanded a review of the EU’s agricultural targets and criticized the shift of money towards smaller farmers. The protest took place during an informal meeting of the ministers of agriculture and fisheries of the EU countries, farmers also demonstrated in the regions with protest rides. The Association of Private Agriculture of the Czech Republic (ASZ ČR), which brings together mainly small farmers and supports the government’s actions regarding changes in financing, does not agree with the protests.

The farmers started the protest happening in Prague with a press conference, at which representatives of individual unions spoke. Martin Pícha from the Agricultural Union of the Czech Republic warned that there is a threat of a food crisis in the future. “The current European environmental policy will lead to a decline in food production in Europe and a dependence on imports,” he said.

Farmers resent the policy of the Green Deal for Europe. According to the protesting farmers, the goals of the agreement should be re-evaluated and postponed. At the same time, they are requesting changes in the sale of emission allowances, which, according to farmers, are liquidating. Since the beginning of the year, they have also been criticizing the change in the subsidy policy for the period between 2023 and 2027. In January, the government decided to transfer a larger part of the money to smaller farmers. The unions claim that the government is taking money from companies that produce most of the food in the Czech Republic.

Farmers also pointed out that their costs have risen by tens of percent in recent months, and for some raw materials by hundreds of percent. It mainly concerns energy, fertilizers and protective agents for plants. They are asking for a pan-European solution to the situation. According to them, the government’s steps towards capping energy prices for small customers and compensation for larger companies are unfortunately planned. Due to rising costs, according to farmers, there is a threat of production restrictions.

The organizers set up a stand in front of the Congress Center where the meeting of the European Ministers of Agriculture is taking place. They gave out potatoes and apples to people with the slogan that they might be the last products of Czech agriculture. Farmers also brought banners with Czech and English inscriptions such as “No to green fanaticism”, “Fair conditions for all” or “No Green deal make real deal”.

The chamber and the union also presented a joint memorandum signed by 14 agricultural organizations from nine EU states. In addition to capping energy prices, they also demand from governments and the EU compensation for the high prices of fertilizers and other input costs. In the long term, they want more money from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy because of the union’s environmental ambitions.

The ASZ CR condemns the demonstration. She stated that the protests “are purposefully organized by the management of these organizations primarily at the behest of a narrow group of owners of the largest agricultural enterprises” and are in fact directed against the interests of the majority of Czech farmers and Czech consumers. According to ASZ CR, the government changes agreed with the majority of agricultural organizations will not have negative effects even on large agricultural enterprises. “The current agricultural policy is certainly not ideal in everything, but after many years it has finally stepped in the right direction,” said the association’s leadership.

The article is in Czech

Czechia

Tags: Green Deal favoring small farmers Farmers protested Prague

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