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Protesting Romanian Farmers Block Border Crossing

MTI-Hungary Today 2024.01.18.

Romanian farmers who have been protesting for days, closed the Urziceni (Csanálos-Vállaj) border crossing on the Romanian-Hungarian border on Wednesday, and traffic blocking demonstrations continued in several locations in Romania.

Although representatives of farmers’ organizations had already reached an agreement with the Romanian agriculture ministry on Monday evening to meet their demands, spontaneous demonstrations by Romanian farmers continued on Wednesday. At noon, farmers in the vicinity of Carei (Nagykároly) marched to the Romanian-Hungarian border at the Urziceni border crossing, where they initially blocked one, then both lanes with their tractors, preventing the crossing of the border, the Romanian police transport department said.

For days, protesting farmers have been demanding, among other things, a reduction in compulsory motor insurance premiums for trucks, an increase in the state subsidy per hectare, state compensation for drought losses, and the abolition of excise duties on diesel.

They also call for a level playing field in transport and for the introduction of a minimum reference tariff, similar to those in Spain and Hungary.

They are also demanding a reduction in the size of the parliament, in line with the previous referendum.

Their demands also include a 50 percent income tax cut for agricultural workers, the abolition of electronic invoicing for companies with a turnover of less than EUR 1 million, and a ban on the sale of land to foreigners.

As Szatmári Friss Újság reported, on Wednesday, farmers marched with 40 machines to the border crossing. The Romanian news portal Presa Satu Mare wrote that the prefect of Satu Mare (Szatmár) county was also expected to be on the scene to meet with the protesters. According to the news portal, the protesters, who organized themselves on Facebook, have also suggested marching to the Romanian-Ukrainian border and blocking the Halmeu (Halmi) border crossing.

After Satu Mare County Prefect Radu Roca arrived at the border crossing in Urziceni and held talks with them, the farmers lifted the blockade, Szatmár.ro reported.

According to the news site,

the farmers blocked the road to the border crossing for two hours, preventing entry and exit.

The protesters, who live near the town of Carei, said that they farm thousands of hectares of land and also raise livestock. The government representative promised to listen to their demands and forward them to the ministry in Bucharest.

In a statement, the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) also expressed support for the farmers, stressing that most of the farmers’ demands are legitimate and that “with a little goodwill” the Romanian government could meet them.

The government has put farmers in an impossible situation, therefore RMDSZ calls for the timely payment of area-based subsidies, the creation of a national agricultural program that would provide all Romanian farmers with an additional 100 euros per hectare in addition to the APIA subsidy in the coming years, and an annual update of the increase in the price of diesel,”

the advocacy group stated, underlining that this is necessary to compensate farmers for the loss of income.

“Farmers’ activities have recently been significantly affected by the grain dumping caused by the Russian-Ukrainian war, disrupting the agricultural market at the EU level and distorting its functioning,” the statement quoted Csaba Könczei, MP for Covasna (Kovászna) County.

The RMDSZ will stand by farmers and give them all the help it can through democratic means from the opposition in parliament,”

the agricultural expert said.

Lóránd Magyar, RMDSZ MP for Satu Mare County and vice-chairman of the agriculture committee of the Chamber of Deputies, recalled that Romanian farmers did not receive area-based subsidies last year, further widening the gap. He pointed out that the current series of protests is a chain reaction, that the series of complaints is justified and that the government must find a solution. “The farming community is surviving at the moment, and Romania has a duty to support this sector, not to consider it as a stepchild,” he said.

Chamber of Agriculture Stands with German Farmers during Protests
Chamber of Agriculture Stands with German Farmers during Protests

The farmers' association MAGOSZ expects the umbrella organization Copa-Cogeca to stand up for the protesting farmers.Continue reading

Via MTI, Featured image: Facebook/Szatmári Friss Újság

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