European Dairy Farmers Unite in Brussels for Fair Pay Demonstration

Brussels, May 27, 2024 – Hundreds of European dairy producers converged in Brussels today, advocating for fair pay in a demonstration coinciding with the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting. 

The protest, organized by the European Milk Board (EMB), aimed to highlight the financial struggles faced by farmers and drew attention to the declining number of young people entering the agricultural sector.

The rally, which started at 12:00 PM, saw delegations from Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Lithuania, Ireland, and Denmark march under the banner ‘Fair income for farmers, now!’ 

Participants paraded life-sized plastic cows painted in their national colors from Place Luxembourg to the Schuman roundabout, creating a vivid and impactful scene in the heart of Brussels’ European district.

Silvia Däberitz, General Manager of the EMB, emphasized the urgency of the situation. “For years, we have seen farmers’ earnings fall short, forcing many to abandon their livelihoods,” Däberitz explained. 

“This has a profound impact on food sovereignty and security within the European Union.”

The demonstration comes at a critical timejust before International Milk Day and two weeks ahead of the European elections. 

Dairy producers are leveraging this moment to call upon the European Parliament, the EU Council, and the European Commission, as well as all agricultural organizationsto support policies that ensure fair incomes for farmers.

“Our message is clear: We need fair income for farmers now,” Däberitz asserted. “If we do not address these issues, we will continue to see a decline in the number of young people willing to enter the agricultural sector, which threatens our food security and sovereignty.”

The parade was meticulously organized, with participants instructed not to bring tractors, although a few agricultural machines were present. 

This decision was made to balance the need for impactful protest while minimizing potential disruptions. 

Despite these measures, traffic in Brussels was significantly affected, particularly in the European district. The Brussels-Capital/Ixelles police zone had issued warnings on Friday, advising commuters to use public transportation, particularly the metro and train systems, to avoid anticipated traffic disruptions from early morning.

The turnout for the rally underscored the widespread frustration within the dairy farming community. Farmers carried signs and banners calling for immediate action to ensure sustainable farming livelihoods. 

The colorful display of painted cows and national flags highlighted the unity among European farmers in their common struggle.

One participant, Jean-Paul Renard, a dairy farmer from France, shared his perspective: “We are here because we can’t survive on the prices we are being paid. It’s not just about us; it’s about the future of farming in Europe. We need the EU to recognize our plight and take action.”

As the demonstrators made their way through Brussels, their chants and the sight of the vibrant parade drew attention from onlookers and media alike. 

The protest ended at the Schuman roundabout, where a delegation from the EMB presented their demands to representatives of the European institutions.

The EMB’s efforts today aim to push the issue of fair farmer compensation to the forefront of the European political agenda. 

With the upcoming elections, the hope is that policymakers will take decisive steps to address the economic challenges faced by the agricultural sector, ensuring a sustainable future for European dairy farmers.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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