According to the European Milk Board statement, a large demonstration scheduled for next week in Brussels has been postponed due to the “present escalating Covid-19 pandemic situation.”
Farm organisations would have joined together to seek a fairer agri-food and climate policy for Europe during the protest, which was intended to take the form of a large tractor demonstration on December 13 and 14.
The EMB is a federation of 20 organisations that represent dairy farmers in 15 European nations. The EMB’s Irish constituent, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), was planning to send a delegation of roughly 30 members to Brussels to participate in the demonstration.
While the tractor-themed protest will have little effect on the Belgian capital for the time being, the EMB has stated that farmers around Europe would continue to hold “strong demonstrations in their nations” throughout December.
In fact, individual Farmers of Ireland will carry out their planned blockage on Sunday, December 12 in three locations: Navan, Kinnegad, and north Carlow.
A new date for a rescheduled demonstration in Brussels has yet to be set.
Farmers should be able to come to Brussels and participate in the protest “without having to encounter entry or exit limitations such as quarantine requirements,” according to the EMB.
According to the EMB, there can be “no Green Deal without farmers,” but that this will demand reforms.
“A true Green Deal can only be achieved if significant reforms are made to the EU’s agri-food sector, and it is shaped with the active participation of farmers.”
In response to the postponement, ICMSA president Pat McCormack stated that he is certain that the event will go place as soon as weather and public-health advice allows.
He also confirmed that an ICMSA contingent would attend the rescheduled event.
He said that their mainland EU colleagues shared Irish farmers’ frustrations.
“They, too, were at their wit’s end in terms of public condemnation and imbalanced and discriminatory supply chains,” he said.
“It’s the same problem all around the EU, where the same ‘cheap-food’ policy means farmers were sacrificed to the profits of retail conglomerates.” That has now been compounded by the same retail firms either taking a step back or engaging in ‘greenwashing,’ while farmers are expected to lead the way to the lower-emission food systems that have been set as the goal. “It’s not going to work out.”