Calamos Supports Greece
GreekReporter.comGreek NewsGreek Farmers Take Their Protest to Athens

Greek Farmers Take Their Protest to Athens

Farmers Athens
Farmers on their tractors demonstrate in front of the Greek Parliament. Credit: Greek Reporter

Thousands of Greek farmers have arrived, many driving their tractors, in Athens on Tuesday, as they escalate their protests during a time of rising production costs.

Greek farmers’ unions have been in negotiations with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ conservative government for weeks but say the measures announced so far don’t go far enough to satisfy their concerns.

Police patrol cars waited for the tractors just outside Athens to escort them to the capital. The tractors moved in one traffic lane and led to Syntagma Square opposite the Greek Parliament, where their protest is culminating.

The farmers have declared that the number of tractors in Athens will be in the three digits but the demonstration will be peaceful. At the same time, they do plan to communicate their anger and determination to find immediate solutions for their needs.

Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis initially expressed opposition to their arrival in the capital with tractors, suggesting the use of cars and buses instead.

However, the government ultimately opted not to exacerbate tensions, allowing the tractor protest to proceed unhindered, a tactic seen in other European capitals during farmers’ protests.

The farmers, frustrated by high production costs, declared their intent to take their protests to the Greek capital following a meeting near the town of Larissa in Central Greece last week.

Farmers Greece
Credit: Greek Reporter

Additionally, they said they would block highways, harbors, and border crossings on that day.

The government reiterated on Monday that it is willing to discuss a more permanent tax rebate scheme in the future, but it had no fiscal room for any further concessions this year.

“We have nothing more to give,” Mitsotakis said during an interview with Greek Star TV on Monday evening.

“I think farmers acknowledge this and know very well that the government has probably exceeded even their expectations, especially on the power bills issue.”

Greek farmers continue their protest despite concessions

The government had earlier announced that farmers would be eligible for lower electricity costs for two years beginning in April. This is a measure that will be partly financed by proceeds from renewables and carbon market credits.

After that period, electricity prices will be stabilized for a third of their power consumption for another eight years, the energy ministry said in a statement.

Mitsotakis told farmers they had received more than one billion euros in compensation for crops damaged in natural disasters since 2019 and noted Greece’s fiscal constraints.

Farmers’ demands

The farmers’ demands include duty-free agricultural diesel, reduced electricity costs, subsidies on supplies and animal feed, renegotiation of the EU’s new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), full compensation for lost income, and cessation of the labeling of non-Greek produce as Greek.

Many of their demands mirror similar protests that have been gripping Europe for weeks now. However, in Greece, farmers also demand the government deliver on promises made months ago. This includes compensation for thousands of crops and livestock destroyed in deadly floods and rainstorms that battered the farming heartland in September 2023.

In a rash of measures recently announced, Mitsotakis said the state would settle farmers’ overdue power and water bills and a tax rebate of diesel fuel would be extended for another year.

“This is all the funding the budget can provide at this time,” said Pavlos Marinakis, a government spokesman. “If we could offer more we would. But we don’t want to make phony promises.”

RelatedFarmers’ protests all over Europe

See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!

Related Posts