France

Farmers plan blockade of Paris Thursday

Lorries obstruct traffic near Lyon in protest at the ecotax last weekend
Lorries obstruct traffic near Lyon in protest at the ecotax last weekend Reuters//Robert Pratta

Farmers in the Paris region plan to obstruct traffic into the French capital on Thursday morning in protest at taxation and proposed changes to the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

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Two major farmers' unions in Ile de France, the region that surrounds Paris, earlier this week called for a "blockade" of the city.

They are demanding the resignation of Agriculture Minister Stéphan Le Foll, whom they accuse of "notorious incompetence", and opposing the proposed ecotax and rise in VAT, along with changes to the CAP, which they say will cut their incomes by 30-40 per cent.

But, after their unions' national leaders told media they had not been consulted about the action and some local organisations organising a separate protest on 29 November, the organisers said they will just slow down traffic between 7.00am and midday.

They say they are ready to take part in the following week's protest as well.

"We're not calling for revolution or civil war," said Damien Greffin of the regional FDSEA on Tuesday, adding that they were not just "following in the footsteps" of the Breton movement against the ecotax "but in our situation we have to take action that is tough and probably unpopular".

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Tuesday promised a complete overhaul of France's tax system.

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