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French Farmers to Blockade Paris for More Government Aid

(Bloomberg) -- French farmers unions called for a blockade of the Paris region after initial pledges from the government failed to allay their anger over higher production costs.

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The country’s farmers have blocked major roads as part of demonstrations over falling incomes and stringent European regulations. The protests mirror similar dissent in European countries including Germany and Poland.

The Rural Coordination union in Lot-et-Garonne, in southwestern France, said it would drive tractors toward Paris on Monday to block the Rungis wholesale food market, just outside the capital.

“We’re not fully satisfied,” said José Perez, co-president of the regional union, told BFM TV on Saturday. “There was some positive progress made, but we need cash.”

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal on Friday attempted to defuse farmers’ fury by promising to reverse a plan to raise taxes on farming fuel and issue big fines to companies that don’t respect rules on price negotiations. He also reiterated France’s opposition to a major trade agreement between the European Union and South American bloc Mercosur.

Further measures for winegrowers, including those hit by mildew-related losses, will be announced next week, Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau said on Franceinfo radio on Saturday.

Unions have so far been unswayed by the government’s initial proposals and vowed to continue protests. The Young Farmers union, aligned with the powerful FNSEA, also called for a blockade of the Paris region beginning Sunday night.

“The idea is that no truck will be able to supply the capital, and that we hold on for a week so that the shortages will be felt” by the public, Maxime Buizard, national administrator of Young Farmers, said on BFM TV.

Protests by Angry Farmers Spread Across Europe: Supply Lines

(Updates with comments from Rural Coordination union starting in third paragraph)

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