Credit: Freepik

Around 3,000 Czech Farm Vehicles Join New Protest Against EU Policies

Around 3,000 pieces of Czech agricultural machinery have been taken to the borders with Slovakia, Poland and Germany today to protest against EU policies, and some farmers are also protesting in the centres of major towns, according to the Czech Agrarian Chamber (AK CR), which has joined the protest.

According to AK CR, several thousand Czech farmers have joined the Europe-wide protest. AK CR President Jan Dolezal described the situation of farmers as “truly desperate”.

Czech farmers are particularly opposed to the high bureaucratic burden and number of inspections, which almost doubled between 2022 and 2023, according to AK CR. The impact of the Green Deal and cheap imports from non-EU countries are also the subject of protests.

In addition to AK CR, the protest has been joined by the Agricultural Association, Bohemian-Moravian Union of Agricultural Entrepreneurs, Young Agrarians’ Society, and some members of the Private Agriculture Association.

Farmers from the Visegrad Four countries (Slovakia, Poland and Hungary), Lithuania and Latvia, are also taking part in today’s protest. Farmers from some Balkan countries, including Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia, are also expected to support them.

The protest was scheduled to start at 10am and last about two hours, being mostly symbolic. Nevertheless, the farming machinery has partially blocked some border crossings or access roads, and fully blocked the crossing at the border with Slovakia in Hodonin, South Moravia.

“The aim is not to make life unpleasant for people, but above all to draw the attention of Czech and European politicians to the problems of farmers,” said Robert Erlebach, Chairman of the Regional Agrarian Council of the Liberec Region. “They are struggling with low commodity prices and high costs, which are rising due to a number of populist political decisions. Farmers are desperate about this hopeless situation.” 

The largest protests are reported in the Olomouc region, involving some 500 pieces of farming equipment. Protests in the Vysocina and Central Bohemian regions involve 320 machines each, said AK CR.

In Brno, a large number of vehicles formed a static line on Koliste, blocking the street in the direction of the train station.

“The situation of farmers is really desperate,” Dolezal said. “We are joined by hundreds of small, unorganised farmers from production areas, foothills and mountain localities, and also by many companies outside of primary agricultural production. This only highlights how deep the crisis is across the sector.”

He said the protest has been peaceful so far. “Above all, we want to draw attention to the biggest problems of farmers, not to restrict life in the Czech Republic. However, we do not rule out continuing with the protests, either at European or national level,” he said.

The launch of national protests by large agricultural organisations depends on the results of their negotiations with Agriculture Minister Marek Vyborny (KDU-CSL). He is due to announce by the end of the month whether the government coalition has managed to negotiate support for proposals to improve the state of Czech agriculture, such as not taxing agricultural subsidies.

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