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Spanish farmers to join European protests

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Spanish farmers to join European protests
Protests by French farmers have grown to an attempt to block major roads leading into Paris. (Photo by Sameer Al-Doumy / AFP)

Spain's three main agriculture unions said Tuesday they would join a growing European protest movement against conditions for farmers.

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Farm protests have already caused disruption in France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Romania and the Netherlands -- prompting the European Union to scramble to address their concerns ahead of European parliament elections this year.

"The agricultural sector in Europe and Spain is facing growing frustration and unease due to the difficult conditions and stifling bureaucracy generated by European regulations," the Spanish unions Asaja, UPA and COAG said in a joint statement.

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The unions did not give the dates or other details on their planned protests.

Protests by French farmers have grown into an attempt to block major roads leading into Paris.

Farmers are angry about incomes, soaring electricity and fuel costs, as well as red tape and environmental policies they say undermine their ability to compete with other countries.

European farmers "are fighting against a deregulated market that imports agricultural products from third countries at low prices, which drives down" the prices of food produced in the EU, including Spain, the statement from the three Spanish unions said.

"These products from outside of the EU do not comply with European rules" regarding respect for the environment and are the source of "unfair competition", which "threatens the viability of thousands of farms in Spain and Europe", it added.

Spain is Europe's leading exporter of fruit and vegetables, and the world's top producer of olives.

It is one of the EU's agriculture powerhouses along with France, Germany, Italy and Poland.

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