Protesting farmers in France lift roadblocks as standoff eases


PARIS: France’s agriculture minister said Friday that the worst of a crisis that saw farmers block roads nationwide for days was over, as protesters began lifting roadblocks following government promises of cash and eased regulation.

In some of the angriest pro­tests that have spread across Europe, French farmers have been out in force for more than a week, using tractors to block key roads into Paris and other major highways nationwide.

The litany of farmers’ complaints is long, ranging from burdensome environ­mental rules to cheap im­ports of produce from out­side the EU such as Ukraine, but focus on the difficulty of making ends meet in the modern world.

On Thursday, two main farming unions announced the suspension of the ac­tion, urging the protesters to take their tractors off the streets, after Prime Minis­ter Gabriel Attal promised cash, eased regulations and protection against unfair competition.

Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau said Friday that the worst of the crisis was “pret­ty much behind us”.

“But the issues that we have to deal with and that have emerged in this crisis are still ahead of us,” he told CNews television.

Authorities said Thurs­day evening that many roadblocks across the country were being lifted or eased and farmers con­tinued to move tractors off the streets on Friday, even though some blockades re­mained in place.

Tractors blocking the A1 motorway near Paris Charles de Gaulle airport were head­ing back, farmers said.__The Nation