Premier Giorgia Meloni criticised the EU’s decision to mandate farmers to leave fields fallow for a year. The move aimed to reduce climate-impacting emissions and facilitate inexpensive Ukrainian imports.
Speaking after an EU summit, Meloni said Italy had already taken measures, but a shift in European policy was imperative. She expressed hope for a change after the upcoming European elections, advocating for a more pragmatic approach rather than the prevailing ideological stance on climate mitigation.
“I was the political leader of a party [Brothers of Italy, ed.] that voted against most of the issues now criticised by farmers in the EU,” she said.
“In Italy, we have already done our best but European policy must be changed. I have asked for greater efforts, but a change of line may come after the European elections, hoping that a different approach will prevail from the ideological one seen so far.”
In response to farmers’ discontent, representatives from major Belgian and European farmers’ associations scheduled a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Brussels.
This development follows heightened tensions in Brussels, where over a thousand tractors blocked streets during an extraordinary EU leaders’ summit on the budget. Farmers in Italy have also staged protests, disrupting traffic to voice their opposition to EU policies.
Italian farmers blockade motorway
Farmers in tractors blocked a motorway tollbooth at Brescia on Wednesday (31st January), creating major traffic disruptions in the southern part of the Lombardy city.
Like many other farmers across Italy, they are protesting against European agricultural policies that they claim to be harmful to the sector.
Earlier Farm Minister Francesco Lollobrigida met with representatives of the protest movement in Verona and said afterwards that the meeting had gone “very well”.