Brussels: Tractors Still on Streets as EU Revises CAP

It is the third protest since the beginning of the year in the Belgian capital, home to EU institutions

A new farmer’s demonstration took place on the symbolically important streets of Brussels on March 26. At the same time, the EU headquarters was hosting a meeting of agriculture and fisheries ministers. It was the third agrarian protest in 2024, with around 250 tractors occupying the neighborhoods of EU institutions.

The European Union has made important concessions to farmers by revising some provisions of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). They are designed to support farmers’ incomes, reduce administrative burdens, and offer a new vision of environmental policy by introducing more gradual and flexible restrictions.

“In terms of simplifications, there has been an almost complete reduction in bureaucratic requirements for companies with less than ten hectares. This applies to 500,000 households in Italy. The rest have had 50% of their positions cut,” explained Ettore Prandini, president of Italian trade association Coldiretti, in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

He also touched upon one of the hot topics, namely competition from Ukrainian grain: “I believe Europe should continue to help Ukraine by encouraging grain imports. But we must also ensure that it does not enter the EU market at the risk of destabilizing it. Instead, grain should be stored and then shipped to countries that don’t have enough produce to feed for their populations, such as African countries.”

Among Brussels’s concessions is the abolition of the obligation to leave 4% of land uncultivated, and agroholdings of less than 10 hectares (65% of the beneficiaries of the Common Agricultural Policy, which occupy only 9.6% of the area) will be exempted from controls and sanctions for non-compliance with environmental regulations.