Farmers protest in Brussels against govt environmental plans
As the Belgian government is seeking to lower greenhouse gas emissions, farmers are taking to the streets to protest against its policies.
An estimated 2,700 tractors blocked roads in the Belgian capital of Brussels on Friday as farmers from the Flanders region took to the streets to protest against moves to cut nitrogen emissions.
The slow-moving vehicles closed central thoroughfares as they were going through Brussels while beeping their horns and carrying var
"No future without farmers," read one of the banners.
Flemish farmers are pushing against a pro-environmentalist effort by the government of their Dutch-speaking region aimed at cutting nitrogen emissions from fertilizers and livestock.
Both livestock waste and the production and use of nitrogen fertilizers are huge contributors to greenhouse emissions, and the government is seeking to slash their use, drawing the ire of the agricultural industry.
The sector says it would be terribly affected by the move that might see certain farms that are deemed too polluting forced to close.
The debate surrounding the situation is threatening to split the ruling coalition in the Flanders region lying in northern Belgium.
Moreover, the farmers are pushing for the regional government to unlock subsidies from the European Union to their industry, which have so far been held up.
Similar protests broke out across the border in the Netherlands in August 2022 after Dutch farmers failed to reach an agreement with the government regarding environmental plans that sparked outrage due to their negative impact on the farming industry.
The biggest Dutch farmers association LTO presented a ‘joint message’ to the cabinet in today's meeting with government mediator Johan Remkes.
Twenty farming organizations were invited to the talks, which were also attended by prime minister Mark Rutte and farm minister Henk Staghouwer, marking the first sit-down meeting between the two sides since the farmers’ protests erupted weeks earlier in June.
Crowds of tractors have been seen in front of the distribution centers of large supermarket chains across the Netherlands since June 10.
The dispute is also over a law aimed at slashing greenhouse emissions, with a new law imposing reductions of around 30 to 70% in 131 agricultural areas in order to reduce polluting emissions by half by 2030. Only 24.3 billion euros would be allocated to help farmers.