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Farmers block trucks from crossing Belgian-Dutch border

Farmers have blocked several border crossings between Belgium and the Netherlands, Belgian and Dutch traffic centres said today, as they protest against grievances including taxes, rising costs, cheap imports and bureaucracy.

The border crossing in the direction of Antwerp, Belgium’s second-biggest city and home to Europe’s second-biggest port, is one of the blocked crossings, according to a post on social media platform X.

Local media reported that the protests started late last night on the Belgian side with some Dutch farmers joining later.

Dutch authorities have advised against travelling to Belgium today if possible.

In western Belgium, farmers have been blocking trucks from entering or leaving the port of Zeebrugge, part of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, for several days, with Flemish broadcaster VRT reporting that almost 2,000 trucks are stuck.

Local police said they were providing the drivers with catering and sanitary facilities.

A spokesperson for the Zeebrugge port said on Wednesday that the docks were filling up and would reach capacity if protests continued throughout the week.

Farmers elsewhere in Europe are similarly disgruntled, with unrest seen in Germany, Poland, Greece, Portugal and Romania.

The protests have exposed tensions over the impact on farming of the EU’s drive to tackle climate change, as well as of opening the door to cheap Ukrainian imports to help Kyiv’s war effort.

Dozens of demonstrations were staged by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) around Ireland yesterday in solidarity with the EU farmers.

Yesterday, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said that Brussels would put forward plans to ease rules and red tape criticised by the protesting farmers in Europe.

The head of the bloc’s executive arm said a proposal “to work on reducing these administrative burdens” would be presented at an upcoming meeting of EU ministers.

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