NOS News•today, 12:16
The farmers’ protests throughout Europe make it clear that the European regulatory burden on farmers is not a typically Dutch problem, but a European problem. This is what the outgoing Agriculture Minister Adema says.
“I am happy that this is now being seen in Brussels,” says Adema. “In the past they thought ‘this doesn’t happen in other countries, just solve it’. It is now clear that farmers in many more countries are suffering from oppressive measures.”
By restrictive measures, Adema means, among other things, the rules that determine how much manure can be spread on farmland. This has been restricted because too much manure is bad for the water quality of groundwater and rivers.
For years, Dutch farmers have had an exceptional position in European manure policy, the so-called derogation. This recently came to an end after much negotiation. Cattle farmers now have to have their manure removed and processed at a high cost.
Country other than Spain or Italy
Adema: “In Europe, measures are being devised that are the same for all countries. But we are a completely different country than Spain, which is different from Italy or Germany.” In the coming week, Adema wants to discuss with the Dutch agricultural sector which measures would work for them, while also improving water quality.
In February, Adema will discuss the Dutch proposals with his European colleagues. “I hear from them that they are also talking to their agricultural sector in this way. Perhaps this is the time to get more space.”
Adema works closely with Prime Minister Rutte, he says. Rutte attended the farmers’ protests in Brussels yesterday and ended up at the table with various farmer representatives, together with Belgian Prime Minister De Croo and European Commission President Von der Leyen.
“De Croo said: ‘We are going to talk to the farmers, come and sit with us’,” Rutte said about how that went. Von der Leyen promised at the table to quickly come up with a proposal that would reduce the administrative burden for farmers.
Although the protests put the European problem on the map, Adema believes that there is also a limit. “Everyone has the right to demonstrate, but let the farmers do it in a nice way. Then you can gain a lot of sympathy as an agricultural sector. But if they mess things up, I think: ‘don’t do that’.”
Border crossings closed due to farmer protests