Dutch farmers, government fail to reach deal on environmental plans
Dutch farmers and the government were unsuccessful on Friday in reaching an agreement on environmental plans that have sparked weeks of angry protests.
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 Friday’s talks, which were also attended by prime minister Mark Rutte and farm minister Henk Staghouwer.
Friday’s talks were the first sit-down meeting between the two sides since the farmers’ protests erupted several weeks ago.
The talks, held in Utrecht, center on bridging the divide between the government’s intention to reduce nitrogen-based pollution by 50% by 2030 and farmers’ unwillingness to reduce the size of their herds and close some farms altogether.
Talks on Friday produced "really too little", said Sjaak van der Tak, head of the LTO, the main Dutch farming union, adding that the "ball is in the government's court".
Government negotiator Johan Remkes told reporters after meeting farming organizations that there is a major crisis of confidence among the Netherlands’ farmers which goes deeper than the nitrogen-based pollution problem.
Since June 10 in the Netherlands, crowds of tractors have been seen in front of the distribution centers of large supermarket chains.
Blockades and demonstrations have been taking place almost all across the nation.
Farmers called for national mobilization and asked the whole country not to work for fifteen minutes on Friday, July 15 to support them.
The reason? The government wants to reduce nitrogen emissions, a powerful greenhouse gas.
A new law imposes 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 will be allocated to help farmers.
Pressured by the highest administrative court in the country, the Dutch government was forced to implement this project to reduce nitrogen emissions into the air in order to preserve its Natura 2000 classified nature reserves.
Nitrogen is a compound of ammonia that pollutes the air and waterways.
Concretely, the government wants to reduce nitrogen discharges by up to 70% in 131 key areas in order to achieve environmental objectives in 2030.