Farmers to hold another protest in Brussels' European quarter on Monday

Farmers to hold another protest in Brussels' European quarter on Monday
Credit: Belga

Brussels’ traffic is set for disruption on Monday due to a protest by agricultural unions, police warn.

From 6 am onwards, Rue de la Loi, between Schuman and the Reyers tunnel heading from E40 towards the centre, and the Cinquantenaire tunnel will be closed to traffic.

There could be intermittent closures of Brussels’ Inner Ring Road and the Arts-Loi junction as well.

Neighbouring streets adjacent to Rue de la Loi and the European district may also face traffic disturbances. The disruptions could last until late Monday afternoon.

The police advise against driving to Brussels on Monday and recommend using public transport instead.

The protest is organised by major agricultural federations from southern Belgium, and coincides with a meeting of European agriculture ministers.

The farmers plan to gather at the Schuman roundabout from 11 am to express their disapproval of recent decisions by the the European Commission in response to their early February protests.

In response to the last protests, the European Commission proposed postponing the requirement to leave 4% of arable land fallow each year and imposing restrictions on imports of poultry, eggs and sugar from Ukraine.

The farmers advocate for ending EU free trade agreements, halting negotiations for the EU-Mercosur agreement, and guaranteeing a robust Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to support the industry.

Some 10 million citizens work as farmers in the EU. The EU's allocated budget for CAP amounts to €386.6 billion for the current budgetary period 2021 - 2027, a third of the EU’s total budget.

WWF Belgium argues that the problem is not necessarily the budget, but rather the uneven distribution of the aid to European farmers. “Twenty percent of the largest European farmers, often large-scale industrial agri businesses, receive 80% of direct payments, while most farmers (often family farms) on small or medium-sized farms receive little to nothing,” according to WWF.

Farmers across Belgium and Europe have staged several protests to voice their concerns in recent weeks.

On 1 February, over a thousand tractors brought the Belgian capital to a standstill during a major demonstration in front of the European institutions.

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