European Greens Denounce Far-Right Infiltration of Farmers’ Protest in Brussels

Martin Banks

Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) – The European Greens say a demo in Brussels on Tuesday was “mainly a far-right event that is trying to disguise itself as a farmers’ protest”. It based its claims on the reported list of speakers for the event in the north of Brussels.

The Greens say the list of speakers shows that “all the political speakers belong to the extreme-right”. The Greens says, “The event is being presented as a protest of “warrior”farmers. “But Europe’s largest farming unions rightfully have rejected calls to join, so fortunately the event will most likely not reach the size of the real farmer’s protests at the beginning of this year.”

The Greens state that “the main agriculture lobby has already ruled  attending the event.” It claims farmers associations from Italy and the Netherlands will not take part. European Green top candidate Bas Eickhout said: “We congratulate the mainstream farmers’ organisations for staying away from this far-right event.” The MEP said, “The far-right has been feeding farmers with the lie that Europe, and the Green Deal, are to blame for their hardship. A small segment of the farmers have adopted those lies and sides with the far-right. We are willing to work with all the farmers who are operating within the framework of democracy.  

“We are here to offer real solutions, like changing the current fact that 80% of Europe’s subsidies go to the 20% richest farms. We are open to dialogue with the mainstream farmers’ unions. But definitely not with the far-right activists who will be in Brussels today.” European Green top candidate Terry Reintke added: “Farmers are amongst the first victims of climate change when their farmlands are flooded, as now in Italy and Germany, and extreme drought such as now in Spain. 

“Climate policies that averts these extreme weather events are an urgent necessity. We are here to support  farmers to make the transition to a future-proof farming model.  “And we are here to change the system of subsidies so that it benefits small- and medium sized family farms instead of the billion-dollar agro-industry. We are fighting for a fair deal for farmers today and a green deal for their future.” On May 30 farmers organised an event in Brussels highlighting the diversity of opinion within the farming movement.

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Martin Banks is an experienced British-born journalist who has been covering the EU beat (and much else besides) in Brussels since 2001. Previously, he had worked for many years in regional journalism in the UK and freelanced for national titles. He has a keen interest in foreign affairs and has closely followed the workings of the European Parliament and MEPs in particular for some years.