French farmers’ protests caused serious problems for Spanish carriers. The circulation of vehicles on AP-7 was interrupted this Friday at noon near La Junquera (Gerona). According to sources from the Mossos d’Esquadra to Europa Press, cars were diverted along the N-2 in Figueras (Gerona), while trucks were stopped or directed to “deterrent parking lots.” The outage caused a four-kilometer traffic jam around 2:20 p.m.
In the interior of France, the situation is also not simple because the trucks that try to circulate these days to take their products to different parts of Europe are stuck in certain points or wander on regional roads.
Due to the turn of events, the agricultural sector demands that the Spanish Government, the French authorities and the European Commission (EC) guarantee free travel to France. Representatives of agricultural organizations, cooperatives and fruit and vegetable exporters in Spain condemned the attacks of foreign trucks on French farmers although, for now, apart from this violence, the practical consequences are loading and unloading delays at final destinations such as Holland or Germany.
The violent drift – which threatens the transporters of wine and fruit or vegetables – occurs at a fundamental moment in the fruit and vegetable campaign, especially in the southeast of Spain, because between January and March when they can sell their products at a good price for the climate factor and because it does not coincide with the northern production calendars.
In addition, the spokesmen of the agricultural sector, who in recent days expressed their understanding of the reasons for the protests initiated by their partners from countries such as Germany, Lithuania, Poland and France, emphasized that it is “irreparable” that their products and their transporters are the victims.
The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, also rejected the violence this Thursday, in statements before his appearance before the Congress of Deputies.
The general director of Agri-Food Cooperatives, Gabriel Trenzado, requested, in statements to Efeagro, to control the restoration of “free transit” of fruits, vegetables, wine products or other goods , which is affected by a “critical” moment of the bell. France, according to the association of fruit and vegetable export producers Fepex, is the second most important destination for Spain and, above all, a transit to other markets; January is one of the months with the highest export volume (in that month of 2023, 1.25 million tons were exported for 1,636 million euros).
The consequences of these incidents also depend on the day of the week, because Thursday is one of the most important, Friday is quieter – in the south of Spain they load the trucks at the weekend – and also Monday becomes one on the key days for the transfer of fruits and vegetables, according to the COAG sector representative, Andrés Góngora.
The organizations Asaja, COAG and UPA, the cooperatives and Fepex have shown their solidarity these days with the discontent of the farmers protesting against the policies of the EU, but now they distance themselves and regret that the previous attacks were repeated in France.
Trenzado, who recalled that in September the entire agricultural sector of Spain protested in Córdoba during the informal meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers “for the same reasons”, condemned the violent demonstrations and called for the meditation on “because”.
The COAG representative confirmed the detentions and unloading delays in Germany and Holland and explained that the fruit and vegetable interprofessional and Fepex approached the Spanish authorities to request information and guarantees.
Spanish organizations also spoke to Copa-Cogeca, a committee that brings together farmers in the community and their cooperatives, to express their concern and demand free travel. “We understand the demands but not the forms, we ask for more stability from the Spanish Government,” added Góngora, in a telephone conversation from Almería. He also criticized the fact that Spanish products were attacked by France and at the same time “70% of Moroccan exports enter the EU from that country.” “It is unacceptable and unacceptable that protests in a neighboring country include violence against Spanish products. We have the same or worse problems than our neighbors to the north,” UPA sources said. .
Consequences for transportation
Various associations have begun to announce the dramatic economic impact the protests have had. The Valencian Federation of Transport and Logistics Entrepreneurs (FVET) warned that transporters in this community are already registering “serious economic losses.” The most affected sector is refrigerated transport, the target of the protests. And some companies estimate the economic losses obtained from these protests at least 120,000 euros with 60 trucks blocked, figures that will continue to increase if the mobilizations continue.
The impact of this sector is also significant in Murcia. 60% of the refrigerated transport vehicles in the Region could be affected by the different levels of the road blockade made by the French farmers, as warned by the Regional Federation of Transport Organizations and Companies of Murcia (Froet).