Why Are Farmers Protesting the Tour de France? - Modern Farmer

Why Are Farmers Protesting the Tour de France?

Many stories about the protest do not...mention what the protest was about. We explain.

Stories about the incident tend to focus on the tear gas used by French police drifting into the eyes of several top riders, including four-time Tour winner Chris Froome. Little mention is made of the fact that the protesting farmers were also sprayed, and basically no mention of why the farmers took this risk in the first place. Let's see what's actually going on here!
Photography AFP on YouTube

According to the little explanation in English media we have, the farmers were protesting a “to reduce farm subsidies and leave more latitude to member states under the bloc’s Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).” The protests are likely tied to an announcement in May that the European Commission proposed to reduce farmer subsidies in its member states, a proposal that was swiftly met with condemnation from the French government.

What Exactly Does That Mean?

The proposal is a reaction to Brexit, in which the UK’s exit from the European Union will result in an estimated reduction in the EU coffers of about $14 billion U.S. dollars. With that reduction, the EU has to change the way it allocates money, and one of the places the EU plans to change things is the Common Agriculture Policy, or CAP, which handles agriculture subsidies and rural development, sort of like the non-nutrition parts of the American USDA.

The cut in the CAP budget would be about five percent, which might not seem like a lot, but France, with its “politically influential but economically struggling” agriculture sector (description according to The Local France), would be hit harder than any other country. The FNSEA, France’s biggest agricultural union, wrote back in May, “Such a budget is unacceptable: it won’t allow agriculture to meet the new challenges it faces, particularly price volatility and climate change.” In specific terms, the proposal suggests a cap on the number of subsidies that can go to farmers, based on farm size, with the maximum subsidy set at 60,000 Euros.

Direct aid, such as subsidies, is a fundamental part of what allows farmers in France – and in the U.S., too – to survive.

The protesters heaved hay bales and drove tractors into the course while holding signs and yelling to bring attention to the issue. The protesters were sprayed with tear gas and forcibly arrested, while riders who had tear gas spray drift their way were medically treated.

Also, the Tour de France riders were fine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related
Farm Favorites
Read the latest reviews on our favorite products.
Tom Chappell’s Ramblers Way knits

Whether toothpaste or cardigans, Chappell is selling the idea that businesses should not exist just... (more)

Things We Love: AKUA Kelp Jerky

If you told me there was a jerky snack made out of kelp - yes,... (more)

Things We Love: CleverMade Snapbasket Cooler

It can keep up to 50 cans chilled for up to 36 hours and collapses... (more)

Things We Love: Republic of Tea Daily Greens Single Sips

It's like green juice: but way easier.

More shopping