July 14, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Greek farmers: “We are increasing our mobilization every day. We have not yet received a response from the Prime Minister" (video)

Farmers in Greece decided to intensify their protests. On Sunday the fourth of February they blocked the Thessaloniki-Chalkidiki national highway from 10:00 to 20:00, and today the residents of Moudania will form a motorized procession and with twenty tractors will come to the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace to submit a protest resolution.

“We have not yet received a response from the Prime Minister,” said the president of the farmers’ cooperative Phlogitones Pavlos Gialogkolidis. The president of Melissourgos Halkidiki, Aristotle Kassandrinos, is indignant, quotes newsbeast.gr:

“We’ve cut production by 80%, increased production costs, and if the government doesn’t help us, the trucks will stay here because we don’t have the fuel to come back.”

Government proposed a number of measures to farmers, which, however, is not enough for them. “The millions of euros that the prime minister says he is giving us to reduce production costs are a pittance,” says Costas Tzelas, head of a farmers’ federation from Thessaly, referring to promises of support from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis:

“The Prime Minister said nothing about the fact that we will lose income from the (European Union) Common Agricultural Policy. If he wants us to stay in Greece and not emigrate, he must solve our problems.”

Greek farmers joined protests in Europe, which are ongoing. European farmers are unhappy with inflation, foreign competition and measures EUintroduced to protect the climate. Farmers in many European countries are inspired by the examples of their colleagues, and a chain reaction of protests is being seen across the EU. However, so far these actions are smaller than recent ones protests in France.

In Germany, tractors intended to block the entrances to Frankfurt am Main airport, one of Europe’s largest airport hubs. About two thousand cars were announced to participate in the action, but in the end, according to the police, only four hundred arrived. Passengers experienced some problems accessing the terminals, but no major disruptions to airport operations were recorded. One of the key issues for German producers remains the end of tax incentives for agricultural diesel fuel.

In Geneva, Switzerland, 30 farmers drove tractors into the city center to demand fair pay for their work. The main problem is dissatisfaction with the huge and opaque markups of large supermarkets, which make food appear expensive when the real costs of production and farmers’ profits are anything but.

In Thessaloniki, angry farmers threw their produce directly onto the ground, arguing that this was practically the same as selling it – they received practically no profit. Farmers from different regions of Greece carried coffins and black flags, claiming that “rising production costs have brought farmers to the brink of disaster.” Farmers arriving in Thessaloniki from Thessaly dumped chestnuts and apples on the sidewalk outside an agricultural fair on Saturday and vowed to intensify their protests after a general meeting on Tuesday.

Farmers from across Greece will gather again on Tuesday and will likely decide to escalate traffic, including blocking highways. The farmers rejected the government’s offer of a meeting with Mitsotakis, calling it a photo op: “The last thing we care about is a meeting with the prime minister.”

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