Protesting Farmers Successfully Bully EU Into Scrapping New Environmental Regs

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Jake Smith Contributor
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The European Union (EU) is withdrawing a pesticide proposal amid protests by farmers against environmental regulations, The Associated Press reported.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the decision Tuesday to suspend a regulation that aimed to cut pesticide and similar chemical use in half by 2030, according to The Guardian. The move is the latest concession by the EU to farmers who have staged sweeping protests across the member nations against environmental regulations they feel are hurting their livelihoods. (RELATED: European Farmers Continue Revolt Against Environmental Regulation By Blockading Port)

“[The anti-pesticide] proposal has become a symbol of polarization,” von der Leyen told the European Parliament in France, according to the AP. “To move forward, more dialogue and a different approach is needed.”

The pesticide regulation would have added government red tape to farmers’ operations and drove up prices for goods, according to the AP. The farmers oppose the regulation because it will make their products less attractive to buyers because foreign farmers’ imports – not affected by the regulation – would be able to undercut them on prices.

“Farmers need a worthwhile business case for nature-enhancing measures,” von der Leyen told the European Parliament. “Perhaps we have not made that case convincingly.”

The farmers are protesting by staging civilian demonstrations, or using their tractors to block long stretches of road in urban environments and cutting off key trade routes and ports. The protests are weakening the EU economy, affecting the day-to-day activities of tens of millions of citizens and racking up high costs in transport delays, according to the AP.

The cut of the anti-pesticide proposal deals another blow to the EU’s “Green Deal” proposal that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

The EU Agriculture Ministry also announced hundreds of millions in aid to farmers on Tuesday to help address drought problems and the negative effects of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The EU Agriculture Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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