Catalan farmers angry with the French boycott of fruit and vegetables

Farmers from Southern France have stopped lorries carrying Spanish fruit and vegetables across the Spanish border and have destroyed all of the produce. The Catalan Government asked the European authorities to intervene in the conflict, since the French police have not stopped the destruction. As a reaction, Catalan farmers threat to block French vehicles returning to France at the end of the month.


August 12, 2011 11:31 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- As in the late 1980s and early 1990s, French farmers are destroying fruit and vegetables coming from Spain once these products enter France. The violent actions took place this Friday, last Thursday and last Tuesday, as well as on the 26th of July. Angry French farmers are protesting against the entrance of fruit and vegetables from Spain which is distributed in their country and the rest of Europe; they protest by stopping the trucks, opening them, offloading them and destroying the products. Despite the free circulation of goods within the European Union and the free market rules, French police did not intervene and stood in front of the protesters without stopping them. Drivers could not defend what they were transporting and helplessly watched the destruction. The Associations of Catalan farmers are angry and claim for public powers to intervene, as well as compensation. They are also threatening response actions if the aggressions do not stop, such as blocking all French vehicles returning to France at the end of the holiday period and circulating them through Catalan highways. Fruit and vegetable producers are also thinking of ways to protect the trucks going to France. The Catalan and Spanish Governments have already asked the French Government to stop these aggressions and guarantee the safety of trucks circulating through France. The European Commission has been contacted to publicly denounce the French authorities’ passivity and to guarantee the free circulation of goods within the European Union, an indispensable element in a free market.

The Agrarian Association of Young Farmers (ASAJA), a medium-size farmer union, has announced that if French farmers continue to destroy their fruit and vegetables, they are thinking about blocking the border to all French vehicles returning home. They have said that the most likely day is August 31st. However, the protest action will not take place if aggressions stop, they clarified. Albert Castelló, ASAJA coordinator in Catalonia, said “action must be taken”, “we cannot continue sending letters to the Spanish Government”. Castelló explained that they are considering blocking the highway and, “if needed, dropping on the floor the milk and other products coming from France”. Another action they are thinking about is going to large supermarkets, most of which are owned by French companies, and destroying French products. ASAJA denounces “the passivity” of the Spanish Government, which according to him does not protect their interests in front of the French farmers.

Another farmers union, “Unió de Pagesos”, the main farmers union in Catalonia, requested that the Catalan and Spanish Government react. They also asked distributors and shop keepers to stop buying French apples as a protest.