Farmers protest in Athens: "Without us, what will you eat" (VIDEO)

farmers protest

Farmers are protesting in Athens today after four weeks of being in blockades all over Greece.

Tractors are in Syntagma Square, while farmers from Crete and many regions of the country arrive by boat and bus early on Tuesday morning. Greek farmers, like their colleagues in many European capitals, chose to culminate their mobilisations in the centre of Athens, protesting the provisions of the new CAP.

With a basic slogan, "Without us, what will you eat?" the farmers from central Greece started their journey early on Monday morning and spent the night in Boeotia.

At the same time, many banners write the slogan "No farmers, No food, No future," which their European colleagues also use in their demonstrations.

Notable is the presence of the Thessalian farmers asking for a comprehensive plan for infrastructure and anti-flood work after Storm Daniel.

By 5:30 on Tuesday afternoon, over 3,000 farmers had arrived in Athens.

Meanwhile, traffic was restored on Stadiou and Aghiou Konstantinou Streets in downtown Athens, police said on Tuesday afternoon, farmers prepared for a protest rally with tractors at Syntagma Square in the late afternoon.

Police also said Panepistimiou Street has reopened to traffic in the section from Amerikis Street to Omonia Square.

According to police spokesperson Konstantia Dimoglidou, there will be additional traffic measures in Deligiorgi, Pireos, Stadiou, Philhellinon and Xenophontos streets.

Since Tuesday, Traffic measures have been in effect on Aghiou Konstantinou Street, Omonia Square, and Panepistimiou Street. Police are urging the public to avoid the above streets until the protests have concluded.

The organised rally, which was decided after the meeting that the representatives of the farmers had last week with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, began at 6:30 PM, while until now, their approach to the centre of Athens has been coordinated and in complete consultation with the police to limit as much as possible the consequences on the operation of the city.

The farmers still insist on meeting their demands despite the fact that Mitsotakis made it clear yesterday that "we have nothing to give."

farmers protest

The demands of the farmers

"We will set the tone and demand that the government solve our problems," said Kostas Tzellas, one of the farmers who will be the president of the United Federation of Agricultural Associations of Karditsa, about today's rally.

The farmers started their mobilisations demanding immediate restoration of the damages in Thessaly, a reduction in the cost of electricity, an immediate improvement in the terms of the Common Agricultural Policy and a decrease in the price of agricultural oil.

From the above, the essential request that remains, after the meeting they had with the prime minister (since they received satisfactory, as they describe, proposals for the rest, with the plan for electricity being the most characteristic), is tax-free agricultural oil.

The government responded to this request with a refund of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) on agricultural oil, amounting to 83 million euros and a commitment that the advance payment of 40 million euros from the return of the EFF will be made at the end of March. The farmers, however, were not satisfied with the Effective Foreign Financial Key (EFFK) and demanded tax-free, an issue they describe as "immediate and imperative".

Among other things, farmers and breeders are asking for a reduction of VAT on basic food items, mainly milk, to 6% from 13% (because it will help consumers and stimulate the absorption of agricultural and livestock products), immediate payment of subsidies of the new CAP, but also protection of producer prices from unfair commercial practices, completion by the HYPAAT of the trial of the control mechanisms.

They also request regulation of farmers' loans with cancellation of 80% of the capital and interest and repayment of the remaining 20% ​​in 15 years, immediate implementation of measures for full compensation of those affected by fires and floods, a plan for the reconstruction of the countryside, ensuring the liquidity of farmers, etc.

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