Expert: Farmers’ EU Climate Policy Discontent Could Influence Election

June 9, 2024 by No Comments

European farmers’ frustration with climate policies promoted by the European Union (EU) could influence the 2024 elections, according to an expert.

The election began on June 6, and concludes on Sunday. In a recent NPR interview, an agricultural policy specialist explained that the recent protests by European farmers could have a significant impact over the weekend.

Alan Matthews, a retired professor of European agricultural policy at Trinity College in Dublin, said that the farmers’ discontent stems from the EU’s expectations for them to be “part ecologist, part nature conservationist,” among other responsibilities.

“They need to understand how their actions impact greenhouse gas emissions. So there are a range of additional obligations, requirements, if you like, that we are asking farmers to fulfill,” he acknowledged.

“We now see farmer protests instead of youth protests leading up to the European elections,” Matthews added. “I believe that these protests are likely to have a similar impact [as the youth protests did].”

In an interview with NPR, Anthony Lee accused the European Green Party of “attempting to eliminate small farming businesses.”

“They tell us the opposite,” Lee said. “The first farms to go bankrupt are small farms because they are unable to cope with this system.”

Lee, who is running in the current election, also accused European politicians of exerting excessive control over how farmers manage their businesses. Part of this stems from how bureaucrats regularly monitor farms.

“Every three days, satellites fly over our property, our fields,” Lee told NPR. “And then every farmer must download an app, and we receive push messages that say: ‘On your field on such and such a day, something is not right. Take a picture and send us this picture.’ It’s become quite ridiculous.”

“If the satellite image reveals to you or the government that something is not correct, for example, if you claim to grow wheat but [instead] grow corn, it would automatically send them a message that something is wrong,” he explained. “Or if you apply manure [at] a specific time which is prohibited, or if you plow your field, I mean, they are seriously considering banning plowing.”

Last month, tens of thousands of Polish farmers protested against the EU’s climate policies.

“We are protesting because we don’t want to become slaves on our own land,” dairy farmer Grazyna Gasowska said at the time. “According to the Green Deal, we are supposed to grow what they tell us to, when they tell us to.”

“All those diversification requirements are extremely challenging for the farmers,” she added.