(Rome) Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced Friday the restoration of tax exemptions for low-income farmers, to try to calm their anger while hundreds of tractors are massed at the gates of Rome.
Mme Meloni made this announcement during the reception at government headquarters with his Ministers of Agriculture and Economy of organizations representative of the agricultural sector.
“The government’s proposal is to help farmers who need it by limiting the income tax exemption (…) to the most vulnerable while until now it benefited the largest farms,” she said. , according to a government source. This favorable regime in place since 2017 was not extended in the last budget, to the great dismay of the profession.
“In Europe, the government has defended farmers and contested from the start the erroneous choices imposed by the European Commission,” she added, saying she was “favorable to the defense of the environment and the ecological transition, but firmly contrary to what has become an ideological transition, made up of diktats.”
Similar protest movements took place in Germany at the end of December, then in France and elsewhere in Europe. In Italy, farmers have mobilized in regions, from Turin to Sicily, and now in the capital.
Dozens of them, mainly from Tuscany and from the Riscatto agricolo (Agricultural Awakening) movement, have been stationed since Monday on the outskirts of Rome in a field near the highway.
On Friday, AFP journalists counted more than 300 tractors, three of which – one green, one white, and one red, like the colors of the Italian flag – paraded along the Colosseum, one of the most important monuments. famous in the capital.
“EU policies are putting us in great difficulty,” Elia Fornai, a 26-year-old farmer from Tuscany, explained to AFP this week. “So we have been demonstrating here for several days, because we inevitably have to return home with results.”
Like their European colleagues, Italian breeders and growers oppose certain EU rules and competition deemed unfair with other countries such as Canada and Ukraine. They also demand the elimination of taxes on agricultural fuel and better remuneration.
The main beneficiary of the European recovery plan after the COVID-19 pandemic, Italy recently obtained an increase in aid intended for its agriculture, going from five to eight billion euros.
Concerning their criticism of the Green Deal which is supposed to help the EU achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, European farmers obtained from Brussels on Tuesday the abandonment of a text aimed at reducing the use of pesticides.
Giorgia Meloni then welcomed a “victory which is also that of our government”.