France | Farmers promise a “siege” of Paris, Attal tries to calm things down

(Paris) Prime Minister Gabriel Attal visits a farm on Sunday, the day before the start of the “siege of the capital” promised by certain farmers who believe that the government’s announcements in favor of the sector are still insufficient.

The head of government is expected Sunday morning on a cattle farm in Indre-et-Loire. The visit will be followed by a speech by the Prime Minister at the end of the morning.

This trip takes place at a time when the situation threatens to become tense again after an initial lull on the ground.


Prime Minister Gabriel Attal met with farmers in Montastruc-de-Salies, southern France, on Friday.

“From Monday January 29 at 2 p.m. farmers from the departments: Aisne, Aube, Eure, Eure & Loir, Ille-de-France, Marne, Nord, Oise, Pas-de-Calais, Seine & Marne, Seine-Maritime and Somme, members of the FNSEA and Young Farmers of the Greater Paris Basin network, are beginning a siege of the capital for an indefinite period,” promise the two unions, which represent the majority of the profession at the national level.

“All the heavy roads leading to the capital will be occupied by farmers,” they add in a brief text.

But the national authorities of the two organizations have not yet decided on the continuation of the movement at the level of the entire country. “It’s the field that decides,” argues the president of the FNSEA, Arnaud Rousseau, in The gallery Sunday.

“The Prime Minister only took into account part of the 122 demands we addressed to him. His proposals are not complete,” he regrets. “We want to sit around the table and discuss with him, claim by claim,” repeats the manager.


On the ground, the situation showed a clear tendency towards calm on Saturday and traffic resumed on a certain number of roads, such as in Bouches-du-Rhône, where farmers were due to lift their last blockades on Saturday evening. The prefect promised them a series of local discussions on subjects such as water management or the sector’s needs for foreign labor.

Faced with government announcements intended to calm agricultural anger, reactions diverge between those who believe they have obtained satisfaction and those who think that the account is not there.

Among the first, Joël Tournier, one of the spokespersons for the movement in Carbonne (Haute-Garonne), with the breeder Jérôme Bayle: “We were heard, we had some answers” ​​even if “everything will not be perfect straight away,” he judges to explain the decision to lift the emblematic blockade on the A64 motorway, where traffic resumed on Saturday in both directions.

But in Gard, the president of the FDSEA 30 union, David Sève, intends to maintain a blockade near Nîmes. “As long as wine measures are not announced, and as long as even other measures are not announced, we cannot break camp,” he says.

“Strong measures”

In an attempt to extinguish the rising revolt in the countryside where many are no longer able to make a living from their profession, the Prime Minister unveiled emergency measures on Friday in Occitania, the cradle of the protest. “We will not let you go,” he said.

He thus acceded to some of the most pressing demands of the demonstrators between the abandonment of the increase in the tax on non-road diesel (GNR), inflated compensation for breeders affected by MHE cattle disease, sanctions heavy actions against three agri-food manufacturers not respecting the Egalim laws on prices.


Farmers block a highway near Agen.

The measures “are expected to be applied to other subjects,” promised Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau on Saturday.

As the European elections approach in June, the crisis is being closely followed by Matignon, while protest movements by farmers have been heard in several EU countries.

“We must set a course for French agriculture. We must tell it what it must do: its objective is to be competitive with the factory farms of Brazil or Ukraine, or its objective is to feed the French properly? », asked the LFI deputy for the Somme François Ruffin.

The Climate Action Network (RAC), which brings together numerous NGOs, has for its part called for “strong measures for better sharing of value in favor of farmers and support from public authorities towards the adaptation of our agriculture to the effects of climate change”.


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