Spanish farmers blocked traffic on some of the country’s main highways on Tuesday, joining colleagues in other European countries protesting against high costs, bureaucracy and competition from non-EU nations.
“With different shades, in the whole of the European Union, we have the same problems,” Donaciano Dujo, vice president of ASAJA, one the largest farmers associations in Spain, told national broadcaster TVE.
ASAJA and other associations had called for protests from Thursday, but many farmers took to the roads with their tractors on Tuesday, snarling traffic throughout the country from Seville and Granada in the south up to Girona near the French border, traffic authorities said.
“The countryside is fed up,” Dujo said.
In Girona, tractors could be seen gathering ahead of the day of protests, carrying placards with one reading “without farmers there is no food”.
Like colleagues in France, Belgium, Italy and Portugal, Spanish farmers are complaining about the increasing weight of European bureaucracy, low produce prices and rising costs.
They say demanding rules imposed on EU farmers to protect the environment makes them less competitive than peers in other regions, such as Latin America or non-EU Europe.
Over the past few days, blockades in France and Belgium have sometimes escalated into violent clashes with the police.