Farmers in and around the Spanish capital of Madrid are set to descend on the city this week as part of nationwide farmer protests in the country which have been ongoing for the past week.
The protests, like others in several EU countries, were triggered by a mix of specific issues and broader concerns, including environmental regulation, and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas.
The protests are backed by several Spanish farming organisations, including COAG, the countries leading farmer representative body.
According to COAG’s programme of activities, demonstrations will get underway today (February 12) in the Community of Madrid, which is a region that includes not only the city of Madrid but a considerable amount of rural farmland (Spain is divided into several communities, which are akin to Irish provinces).
Tractors have taken to one of the motorways in the region en route to Madrid.
The demonstrating farmers are understood to be planning to enter the city proper this Wednesday (February 14), where they are set to blockade the Mercamadrid, a large food market on the outskirts of the city, adjacent to the motorway that farmers have taken to today.
On the same day, demonstrations are set to take place far to the south, in the city of Seville, along with several other cities.
At present, demonstrations are set to continue in Spain until at least February 24.
Protests in Poland
Farmers in Poland have also began protesting in recent days to highlight the ongoing issue of imports from Ukraine, which have frequently drawn the ire of Polish farmers, who feel their produce is being undercut in value.
In a open letter to the government, several farm organisations expressed dissatisfaction with the influx of Ukrainian imports, as well as EU regulations on arable land, and the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement.
These farm organisations are calling on the government to expand the list of products from Ukraine that are subject to restrictions.
Finally, returning to western Europe, dairy farmers in France are set to protest in Paris tomorrow (February 13).
Dairy farmer association APLI is organising the demonstration in Paris from around 10:00a.m. The dairy farm organisation is hoping to meet with members of the country’s parliament, the National Assembly, during the demonstration.
The demonstrators are also set to march between the National Assembly and the Eiffel Tower.