Czech farmers protest again, tractors move to borders and cities – ČT24 – Czech TV

Czech farmers across the country and across the border protested again on Wednesday over the situation in the agricultural sector. They have thus joined European demonstrations, which, according to agricultural organisations, aim to draw attention to the unresolved problems of farmers and breeders, such as cheap imports from countries outside the EU or excessive bureaucracy in the sector. According to Agriculture Minister Marek Výborny (KDU-ČSL), farmers no longer have any additional financial support from the government.

In the regions, demonstrations take the form of protest movements of tractors and other agricultural machinery or public meetings. Some farmers went to border crossings to meet colleagues from abroad. People should expect traffic restrictions in some areas. According to the organizers, it is not excluded that some farmers will come to the capital independently.

About 1,600 agricultural machines hit Czech roads. A large number of participants must have been in the south of Bohemia. “Local traffic restrictions cannot be ruled out. This is a protest action where farmers want to express their displeasure,” said Barbora Bankova, spokeswoman for the Chamber of Agriculture.

Prohibited border crossing at Strážné

For example, thirty agricultural machines, mostly tractors with flatbeds, have piled up at the border crossing at Sodipusa. “When they demonstrated here a month ago, the participation was many times higher because their colleagues from Poland came to support them. But now they are protesting in their own country as part of the European challenge,” ČT editor Katina Jerichova described. Crossing the border is free.

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Instead, the border crossing at Strážné was blocked in both directions for about an hour. According to the original assumptions, about 150 agricultural machines were to arrive there, and in the end there were almost eighty of them. Columns were formed at that place up to km. “The aim is to draw attention to the long-standing unresolved problems of farmers and breeders and the deepening crises in the agricultural sector not only in European countries, but also at the national level. The event symbolically takes place the day before the EU Prime Ministers' Summit,” said Hana Zastna, director of the South Bohemian Chamber of Agriculture.

During the protest in Trudno, the farmers wanted to present their demands to Deputy Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Skivanek (KDU-ČSL), but he told them in the morning that he would not come to the meeting because he had to be at a government meeting. 10:00. “We were promised that someone else would eventually come here, but unfortunately the key people are in Vietnam, or they're not available to accept our requests at this time,” notes John Dolezal, president of the Farmers Union. Minister's Foreign Visit to Asia

Dolezal will reportedly invite Scrivanek to convey farmers' demands to Prime Minister Peter Fiel (ODS). On Thursday, the Prime Minister heads to Brussels for a meeting of the European Council on Agriculture. Agriculture Ministry spokesman Vojtěch Bílý told Tuesday evening's meeting that Skřivánek apologized and was in contact with farmers. According to Bili, the other two Agriculture Deputy Ministers are busy with work commitments and hence could not come to Trudno, he added.

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Great: We don't have any recovery packages ready

According to Martin Bicha, President of the Agricultural Union, Czech farmers are ready to protest until the end of the current government's tenure. Along with other industry organizations, the union recently presented demands to Agriculture Minister Wyborni, but according to him, it is not necessary to fulfill all of them, there is a desire to agree to a compromise.

Agriculture Minister Výborný pointed out that the government has no rescue package for farmers if the protests continue in the Czech Republic. “I feel today's (Wednesday's) protests are pan-European,” Výborný said. “For me, if the protests continue at the national level, I and the government don't have any rescue packages ready yet. We are putting on the table what we had ready,” he said, adding that the government would add 550 million kroner to animal welfare this year and cut rural employment by two through social insurance discounts next year. He also said that he would support him with billions of crowns.

In an interview with Český rozhlas Radiožurnál, Výborný said that negotiation support is limited to the most affected agricultural industries, namely small and medium-sized businesses. According to his statement, the minister is currently discussing with farmers' representatives how to target an increase in investment support to three billion crowns.

However, where they disagree is on the best property tax refunds according to pre-consolidation package levels. “If we start removing the integration package, it won't be good,” he thinks.

Discounts

Last week, the European Commission agreed with farmers and proposed to repeal some of the environmental requirements that had been in place until now as part of the Common Agricultural Policy. Farmers complain of insufficient revenue, bureaucracy, rising prices and agricultural conditions. The EU executive is also assessing whether it can restrict imports of Russian agricultural products into the EU.

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Farmers' protests are taking place on the occasion of the European Council meeting on March 21. Farmers from Poland, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium will also participate in this.

The last demonstration of Czech farmers took place in Prague on March 7, and according to a spokesman for the Chamber of Agriculture, three to four thousand people and a thousand machines took part in it. A section of farmers protested on February 19 as well. However, the Farmers' Union and the Farmers' Union stayed away from the event. Farmer organizations participated in the protest on February 22.

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