French farmers protest calm before the storm

French farmers protest calm before the storm?

Several highway closures have been lifted by tractors in recent hours, including perhaps the most emblematic of the protests since they began on January 18, that of the A64 connecting the southern cities of Toulouse and Bayonne (Basque Country). French).

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal's seduction campaign continues this Sunday with his visit to a beef production farm in the Indre-et-Loire department, from where he will certainly reaffirm that government measures to respond to rural needs will continue.

On Friday, Attal announced in Montastruc-de-Salies a package of 10 measures in response to the industry's anger, including an aid of 50 million euros for the organic subsidiary (organic products) and the suspension of the price increase fuel for tractors, simplifying procedures and support, as well as guarantees that France will not support the agreement between the European Union and Mercosur.

Although some farmers, such as cow breeder Jérôme Bayle, leader of the A64 blockade, expressed satisfaction, the majority considered the measures inadequate due to their complaints about low wages, inequalities in income distribution, the impact of inflation, bureaucracy and European environmental regulations affecting them described as very serious.

The main rural unions and supporters of the protest movement, the National Federation of French Farmers' Unions (Fnsea) and Young Agricultures (JA), ruled out ending the protests.

The Prime Minister did not respond to all the questions asked, Fnsea President Arnaud Rousseau told the TF1 network on Friday.

For his part, the supreme leader of the JA, Arnaud Gaillot, explained to the BFM television that, after consultation with the bases, the order is to maintain the mobilization, the main expression of which is the blocking of highways with tractors, measures that affected 85 of the 96 metropolitan areas.

Some will take a break, others will continue throughout the weekend, but the intention is to continue, Gaillot added.

The day before, the Fnsea and the JA reported in a joint statement on the decision to blockade Paris from tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. local time, for which they summoned members from 17 departments near this capital.

Also known was the demonstrators' intention to block the Rungis International Market tomorrow, one of the world's largest for agricultural products and a nerve center for food supplies in Paris and many other areas.

The French political class, with its peculiarities and intentions, supports the protest movement, which is reflected in sharp criticism of the government by the opposition, which tries to defend itself with arguments such as the claim that the problem of the camps is old.

This Sunday, the leader of the Republican Party (Conservatives), Eric Ciotti, proposed a monthly minimum wage of 1,500 euros for farmers, describing the measures announced by Prime Minister Attal as “ridiculously weak”.

From the left, Communist Party National Secretary Fabien Roussel supported the farmers and called for a “convergence of anger.”

There is anticipation about what will happen to the movement on Monday, based on an eventual escalation of pressure and the possibility of other sectors joining the mobilization, with the General Confederation of Trade Unions (CGT) having already called on its members to line streets alongside farmers.