22 avril 2024

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The 60th edition of the international agricultural show, disrupted by dozens of angry farmers

A day marked by violence at the start of the morning, an improvised debate between Emmanuel Macron and farmers and a stormy stroll for the President of the Republic.

A day marked by violence at the start of the morning, an improvised debate between Emmanuel Macron and farmers and a stormy stroll for the President of the Republic.

Whistles, shouts, slogans “Macron resign” punctuated the President’s arrival this Saturday morning at the Agricultural Show. The police, police and gendarmes, were in large numbers trying to maintain order.

The opening of the agricultural show this Saturday morning was disrupted by demonstrations. The security services were overwhelmed and mobile gendarmes had to intervene.

While the president had just arrived on site to begin a long marathon against a backdrop of peasant anger, demonstrators rushed into the area. Dozens of them even forced a gate to enter the show before its official opening and clashes occurred with the security service. An event that the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, had to inaugurate more than four hours late.

The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, cut the inauguration ribbon. More than four hours late. The head of state wandered between stands and greeted a few farmers. But, for a long time, only in a small perimeter surrounded by lines of CRS equipped with shields, under boos and whistles.

“We are waiting for very clear answers, a very clear vision,” declared Arnaud Gaillot, president of the Young Farmers, a union close to the FNSEA, before the arrival of Emmanuel Macron at the Agricultural Show. “He has all the keys in hand to provide answers. It’s up to him to play, it’s up to him to give this agriculture a real direction again,” he added.

Given the chaos that reigned at the Porte de Versailles since the early hours of the morning, the Élysée can say that this is already it. That the snub is not complete. At 8 a.m., when the President of the Republic had just arrived on site, demonstrators forced entry and took over the aisles of Hall 1, chanting “Macron, resign”.

Faced with this disorder, Emmanuel Macron spoke around 9:30 a.m. to call for “calm” not without having first defended the measures taken by France to support French agriculture, which is largely export-oriented.

“I stand alongside our farmers and French agriculture,” Emmanuel Macron then assured, during a press briefing held after a meeting with agricultural unions. This was organized after the cancellation of the Great Debate desired by the Head of State.

The Head of State defended his results on the agricultural sector, estimating that the States General on Food in 2017 “gave rise to several laws, to plans for new sectors for income and transition”.

The agricultural bill presented on March 20

The President of the Republic announces that the agricultural bill, postponed several times, will be presented to the Council of Ministers on March 20. For the Head of State, the mobilization of farmers for more than a month now is the symptom of an “income crisis, a crisis of confidence and a crisis of recognition” of the agricultural world. “We need to show recognition, respect, pride for the agricultural model and for our farmers,” he continued.

For the Head of State, “we have sectors which are in great difficulty – fruit and vegetables, arboriculture, livestock –, and we have regions which are in real difficulty because they have problems climate or sectoral adaptation”. Before recalling the three objectives of the government to respond to the agricultural crisis: “to have agricultural and food sovereignty in France and in Europe”, “to protect our soils” and “the battle for income”.

“Faced with this, I made a commitment this morning, here, in front of the trade union organizations, first of all, to recognize our agriculture and our food as a major general interest of the French nation. This will be enshrined in law, which will protect our agriculture in a firm and solid manner,” he explained.

The President of the Republic affirmed on Saturday that he had never thought of launching an invitation to the radical environmentalist collective Earth Uprisings for a major debate on the first day of the Agricultural Show, news which had provoked the anger of farmers and triggered a boycott of the FNSEA.

“I completely deny this information. Totally. I never thought of initiating such an invitation. And you are speaking to the President of the Republic who has assumed responsibility for pushing through the Council of Ministers the dissolution of the Earth Uprising,” the French president told journalists. “This whole story made me angry to a point that you cannot imagine (…) So, that’s nonsense,” he got carried away, recognizing however an “error”. “This group was cited, but it is false,” continued the head of state

“I have always condemned the associations, the groups which entered the farms, which attacked,” continued the President of the Republic, regarding the Earth Uprisings.

During his speech, which lasted more than twenty minutes, Emmanuel Macron announced the holding of a “calm” meeting with “all trade union organizations, all agricultural sectors” in three weeks at the Elysée.

On the occasion of this new meeting, the Head of State wishes to “consolidate the emergency measures” announced by the executive, “consolidate and formalize national and European commitments” and “build a plan for the future French and European agricultural sector by 2040”.

“There is a need for vision, direction for our agriculture, which is essential to the nation. This requires continuing to work calmly, methodically and with determination,” declared the Head of State during a press briefing at the Agricultural Show.

“I never hid,” assures Emmanuel Macron

In an impromptu manner, Emmanuel Macron is currently debating with several farmers at the Agricultural Show. “I always prefer dialogue to confrontation. Confrontation produces nothing,” he said at the opening of this debate, while the morning was marked by confrontations between the CRS and farmers, with cries of “Macron resign”.

“In the very short term, the show needs to go well. For your colleagues, it’s months and years of work,” continued the Head of State in a tense atmosphere. “It’s up to you,” replied the farmers present.

“No, it’s not just up to me,” replied Emmanuel Macron. “I did not wait for the crisis to get involved in agriculture: the EGalim laws, harvest insurance, sector plans, the European battle to have the CAP and block Mercosur. I never hid. »

Since the start of the day, there have been “three arrests”, indicated the Paris prosecutor’s office. However, there was no placement in police custody, the individuals concerned having been released after questioning.

The farmers take turns speaking before the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, and his delegate minister, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, demanding “commitments” from the ‘executive. “It’s not normal that we block a highway, that we block France to get there,” regretted one of them. For a farmer from Oise, “yes, there are measures taken at the local level, but at the national and European level nothing is happening. This is not tolerable for farmers. We need to have concrete answers.”

“There was an immediate reaction from the government,” defended the President of the Republic during this debate at the Agricultural Show. The Head of State recalled that “sixty-two measures have been identified, they have all been launched”.

“I got involved this morning with the union organizations, I made a press briefing to go further, to make new commitments,” he continued. We can’t act as if we’re starting from scratch every time, otherwise it’s not serious. We have been in contact, the prefectures are doing the job. Please let’s not say everything and its opposite. »

Emmanuel Macron notably announced on Saturday morning the establishment of an indicator of the cost of production in each sector, which should “serve as a floor price, to help guarantee agricultural income”.

The Head of State notably announced an “emergency cash flow plan” to relieve farmers, spoke of the establishment of floor prices which will protect agricultural income and addressed the issue of pesticides.

The President of the Republic is currently in hall 4 of the Agricultural Show. After having lunch in the middle of the afternoon with managers of the main sectors, he resumed his visit to the Show while the situation remained tense outside Hall 4 which was protected by the police.

Emmanuel Macron spoke one last time before leaving the Agricultural Show, early Saturday evening, from Hall 4, where the President of the Republic spent part of the afternoon. The farmers demonstrating in Hall 1 earlier in the morning had been kept out of this part of the visit by the event security service and the police.

The Head of State then continued his criticism of the National Rally, declaring in particular: “I want a project that explains to people that we are going to close the borders and that others will continue to open them for us, but it does not exist. (…) We cannot tell jokes to farmers, we have to stop. »

Macron finally detailed again the measures he wants to put in place to respond to the anger of farmers (in particular the continued application of the EGalim law by installing price indicators in all sectors, which is not not the case today, as well as the creation of European regulations on purchasing centers to combat the circumvention of commercial negotiations in France). The exchange with the press ended with an invitation to the press to go for a drink. “Okay, let’s go have a drink at the brewers, come on! », Launched Emmanuel Macron.

REVIEW OF THE DAY

Eight police officers were injured this Saturday, including “two a little more seriously”, during tensions on the sidelines of the Agricultural Show, announced Paris police prefect Laurent Nunez. Furthermore, the police “made six arrests, including three on people holding public authority”, continues the prefect who “deplores the violence shown by certain demonstrators”.

“There were a lot of CRS, I deplore it. But why? Because there were also a lot of people who were a little excited,” says Emmanuel Macron. “Today, there must have been 40 or 50,000 entries, there were 300 or 400 people who were angry. Let’s say there were 500 when there were 50,000 visitors, we can’t say that it is the majority. They must not prevent others from functioning and families from moving around. We must never give in to anger”, he further emphasizes, deeming it ridiculous on the part of farmers to ‘having committed violence in a salon which is theirs’.

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