The unrest in the countryside due to increased raw material prices, the damage caused by the drought, competition from non-EU products or the restrictions imposed by Brussels' environmental policy have crept into the election campaign between PP and Vox. The two forces on the right are vying to take over the flag of defense of farmers and ranchers, in the midst of the campaign for the 18th century Galician elections. Popular leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo has used his parallel caravan through Galicia's rural communities to attack the government, which he calls “urbanites” for failing to defend Spanish products from attacks by French protesters. After the large mobilizations that have shaken Europe in recent weeks and those announced for the coming days in Spain, the PP gathered this Monday the regional councilors of its party with powers in the matter at the National Headquarters on Génova Street. with MP Elías Bendodo, Secretary of Autonomous and Local Coordination, and Cuca Gamarra, Secretary General of Training, to coordinate a joint response from the 12 municipalities in which they govern. The meeting ended with the announcement of a “shock plan” that includes 15 measures “to address the crises in the agricultural sector,” with initiatives focused on attacks on the central executive.
For its part, Vox has responded by announcing that on the 14th it will bring to Brussels its four regional councilors related to rural areas: the one for agriculture, livestock and rural development of Castilla y León, Gerardo Dueñas; that of Agriculture, Livestock and Food of Aragon, Ángel Samper; that of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the Valencian Community, José Luis Aguirre; and the forest manager and the rural environment of Extremadura, Ignacio de Higuero. In the municipal capital they meet with the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, the Pole Janusz Wojciechowski. Abascal's creation has an advantage since the adviser belongs to the ultra-conservative Law and Justice party, integrated into the ECR, of which Vox is a member. According to the Ultra party, the four city councilors will present their allegations of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in Brussels and Wojciechowski will explain the “suffocation” of the Spanish rural population.
From Galicia, Feijóo began his campaign day this Monday at a farm in Lalín, in Pontevedra, where he took the opportunity to attack the government. “Agricultural policy cannot be shaped from one office [el paseo de] the Castellana [de Madrid], but by coming to the countryside and allying ourselves with the farmers,” said the PP leader during an appearance in front of a field and a tractor. Like his predecessor Pablo Casado in the election campaign in Castilla y León two years ago, Feijóo blamed part of the problems of livestock farmers on Pedro Sánchez's ministers – alluding to the former consumption boss Alberto Garzón of the IU to reduce meat consumption. He also claimed that the refusal to reduce VAT on meat was exacerbating the situation.
“We see that the central government devotes little time to farmers and ranchers and treats them with contempt,” he stressed. “What is happening in France with Spanish products is regrettable and the government is dealing with it very gently, even in the face of the insults of the French minister,” added Feijóo, referring to the statements made by former minister Ségolène Royal against Spanish tomatoes organic label. Sánchez responded to this criticism last week.
A few hours later, the People's Party announced its “shock plan” with 15 measures “to address the crisis in the agricultural sector”, focusing on the issues that concern the central government and avoiding confrontation with Brussels. Among other things, the PP calls for the suspension of the plastic tax, the reduction of VAT on meat and dairy products, the immediate payment of compensation for “products attacked on French territory” and a review of the law on food safety of the chain and agricultural insurance and reform the so-called PERTE (Strategic Projects for Economic Recovery and Transformation), which are financed with European funds.
Vox will go to the demonstrations
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For his part, Santiago Abascal has already announced that his party will join the demonstrations called in the coming days across Spain by the major agrarian organizations (Asaja, COAG and UPA) and other minority associations, in the wake of the mobilizations from France, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania. Vox shares some of the measures proposed by the PP, such as the need for a “national water pact”, reflected in a policy of transfers and linking of all accounts; or the review of trade agreements with third countries with which he wants to limit the import of Moroccan agricultural products and commit to a “food autonomy” of a self-sufficient nature.
However, unlike Feijóo, Abascal does not limit himself to blaming the Sánchez government, but rather takes aim at EU policies and in particular the “Green Pact” and the “globalist agenda”, as he calls them. the United Nations 2030 Agenda, which also includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Abascal accuses what he calls “climate fanaticism” of “dooming the country to death” for restricting the use of pesticides in the countryside or banning animal cruelty, and blames both the PSOE and the PP because, how he highlights that both parties vote together with 87.6% of the time in the European Parliament; and socialists and popular representatives “are a coalition” in the European Commission, as the PP's deputy secretary for institutional affairs, Esteban González Pons, recognizes.
Vox has tried to capitalize on its criticism of European agricultural policy in the Galician elections, with measures such as radical tax cuts or a green light for the hunting of wolves and wild boars, and has campaigned with its spokesman in Brussels, MEP Jorge Buxadé led, but stumbled over the lack of penetration in the Galician area, a fiefdom of the PP in which the Spanish-speaking candidates of the Ultra party hardly find any support.
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