Farmers are back on the streets in Brussels while the European leaders meet today for the planned Summit.

According to the police about 1,000 tractors have surrounded the building which has been “fortified” by police forces. Dozens of farmers arrived early in the morning at the headquarters of the European Union, in order to have their demands heard by the EU leaders.


European Parliament

Although they had pledged that their protest will be peaceful, the farmers lit fires and smokestacks and started pelting stones shouting slogans.

A police officer throws water on a farmer at a protest action in the European district in Brussels, organized by several agriculture unions from Belgium but also other European countries on Thursday 01 February 2024.
by @dirkwaem

Belgian Prime Minister: Farmers’ concerns are legitimate

“We have to discuss the issue of farmers in the Councilbecause the concerns they have are partly legitimate,” said Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre De Croix, attending the European Council in Brussels, shortly before the start of the large agricultural mobilizations in the European capital.

“Climate transition is a key priority for our societies” said the Belgian Prime Minister, “we must ensure that our farmers can be partners in it and take part in the discussions” he emphasized.

He also noted that “we need to ensure that the administrative burden they have remains within reasonable limits” and emphasized that the Commission’s announcements for a one-year derogation from the set-aside “give a little more oxygen” to the farmers.

“Today we have only one goal, to reach an agreement of 27” said the Belgian prime minister, referring to the main topic of the Summit which is the revision of the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) (2021-2027) which also includes the “Ukraine Facility”, macro-economic assistance of 50 billion euros.

Al. De Croix appeared optimistic that there will be a final agreement between the “27”. He reminded that at the December European Council there was an agreement between the “26”, which is still on the table and today “it is of critical importance to reach an agreement with the 27 member states”. He stressed that “of course there is a need for transparency and to ensure that the money is spent properly – it is a legitimate question that can be answered”.

In conclusion, the Belgian prime minister emphasized that “the agreement is in everyone’s interest” because the aid package for Ukraine is included in the revision of the MFF which provides funding for migrationthe Recovery Fund, neighborhood policies and other important EU actions.