Europe is taking the burden of what appears to be a global rise in inflation, which was triggered by the pandemic’s ramifications and exacerbated by the world’s energy crisis, driven by the Russia-Ukraine war. As if energy security weren’t already a challenge, it has since given rise to a different perspective on the crisis: food security. Protests have been spreading across the continent, demanding government policies reflect the needs of the industry.
The first to protest were the Dutch farmers. They are protesting against their government’s proposed environmental measures to decrease pollutant emissions. The nation’s government suggested a $22 billion initiative after being ordered by the courts to reduce nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions produced by cattle by 50% by 2030. The Hague is considering making farms that would otherwise require closures available as part of the government’s response to this issue.
According to a Dutch farmers’ union, this may put 30% of the country’s farms out of business. Dutch farmers blocked major thoroughfares and supermarket entrances to protest the impending laws. Soon after, German farmers joined the Dutch protesters in blocking the road on their shared border. The heat of intensifying farmers’ protests is accumulating on rural roadways, adding to Italy’s present drought. If the government does nothing, the tractors blocking major routes have threatened to “come to Rome.”
This week, Italy declared a state of emergency in five regions due to the drought that is endangering the nation’s economy in its northern regions. The Po River, the largest in the nation and the source of 14% of Italy’s agricultural output, is at its lowest point in 70 years.