EU crisis as thousands block Berlin roads in fury at EU subsidies ‘we are fed up!’

Thousands took to the streets of and Ireland over the weekend to protest against restrictive EU regulation preventing farmers from making an environmentally-friendly use of EU subsidies. More than 15,000 farmers blocked Berlin's roads with tractors on Saturday in a joint protest between alliance "Wir haben es satt" (We've had enough) and alliance "Land schafft Verbindung" (Countryside Creates Connection).

The two groups united against EU regulations on pesticides and the distribution of EU funds to agricultural and horticultural organisations.

Instead of investing €60billion (£51billion) from the EU in agriculture which uses pesticides on fields or encourages mass livestock farming possible, the money should be spent to support environmental, nature conservation and climate measures as well as promoting animal welfare, the alliances believe. 

More than 150 tractors rolled up to the iconic Brandenburg Gate in downtown Berlin on Saturday afternoon, paralysing traffic in the adjacent areas.

The Berlin mayor, Michael Müller, recognised that it was a "burden for Berlin", but "the farmers have their point of view”.

READ MORE: EU on alert: Protests break out In Germany and Ireland

He added that locals would "have to tolerate" the upheaval.

Placards accompanying the tractors read: "Don't forget that farmers feed you", "No farm, no food, no future" and "We are fed up!" 

Farmers across Europe are increasingly alarmed about the future of the agricultural and environmental policy, following the EU's £852billion Green New Deal policy. 

In the past two months, similar agricultural protests have broken out in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

But Mrs von der Leyen's optimism was short-lived as her proposal immediately came under attack as Italian MEP Silvia Sardone branded the project "a pipe dream."

Ms Sardone said: "I’ve heard talks of 50 percent cuts by 2050 - well, that’s just pipe dreams, isn’t it?

"Climate neutrality before 2050 but have you looked at the social and economic impacts of this? I understand the Commission needs to have a trendy image so that people really love you but just coming up with buzzwords and slogans is not the right thing."

Ms Sardone, a Lega Party MEP elected for the first time in May, continued: "Just to keep people happy, you’ve talked about promoting good-quality food but I’m wondering if good-quality food is what we’ve seen with the Nutri-score or Tunisian olive oil or African oranges.

"I’m asking because in Europe we are required to fulfil certain standards and then we can see, all of a sudden, you are doing trade deals with countries that do not adhere to these standards.

"Same thing with plastic. You keep talking about plastic-free and yet you have trade agreements with countries where pollution is running riot."

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