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25 April, 2024
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Greek farmers descend on Athens protesting economic hardships

Tractor convoy targets Parliament over rising costs, foreign competition, and flooding impact


In a demonstration mirroring concerns across Europe, Greek farmers drove tractors into Athens on Tuesday to protest outside parliament, citing issues with rising energy costs, foreign competition, and recent flooding. Similar grievances have sparked farmer demonstrations in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, and Italy.

Despite ongoing negotiations between Greek farmers' unions and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' government, the farmers argue that the proposed measures do not adequately address their concerns. The protesters, gathering from various regions, express particular distress over escalating fuel and energy expenses.

One farmer from Kastro, central Greece, emphasized the challenges faced by the agricultural sector, stating, "Last year was catastrophic for farmers." The protest aimed to increase pressure on the government, which has already offered power bill discounts and extended tax rebates for agricultural diesel until the end of 2024.

While the government expressed openness to discussing a more permanent tax rebate scheme in the future, it cited fiscal constraints this year due to Greece's recovery from a decade-long financial crisis. Prime Minister Mitsotakis acknowledged the challenges but insisted that the government had already exceeded expectations, especially regarding power bills.

Despite expectations of a symbolic rally, farmers appeared resolute in seeking additional concessions. Protester Dimitris Tsarouchas remarked, "We'll see if there is anything else at the bottom of the barrel."

[Source: Reuters and Kathimerini Greece

Cyprus  |  Greece  |  protests  |  agriculture  |  farmers

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