European Farmers Are Sick of Being Forgotten

Anger over elite policies erupts across Europe.

What’s happening: Massive farming protests are spreading across the European Union, from the borders of Poland to the streets of Paris.

Why it matters: These protests indicate more segments of society are finally tiring of being overlooked by elites. It’s not just radical climate policies: E.U. establishments have put policies deemed “morally correct” — Ukraine aid, free trade deals, and yes, climate extremism — ahead of the economic well-being of farmers and at-risk industries.

Not just picketing: Farmers are blocking borders and city streets with massive equipment, and parking without leaving for days or until their demands are met.

What they want: Farmers in each country are rising up for different, though related, reasons:

  • France and Belgium: Protestors are demanding a loosening of red tape and the end to a proposed free trade deal with South America, which farmers worry could hurt domestic industry.

  • Germany: Farmers have been protesting government plans to remove subsidies, which farmers argue would decimate local agriculture.

  • Netherlands: The government in the Netherlands has tried to reduce livestock to fight climate change, prompting farmer protests. But with the recent right-wing surge there, those moves may be put on hold or reversed.

  • Poland: Farmers and truckers have been blocking the border with Ukraine on and off over unlimited grain exports, which are causing Polish grain prices to plummet.