ABS threatens to paralyse Belgium
The farmers have given the government a 10-day deadline to come up with plans to counter rising fuel prices and lower profit margins.17 June 2008
BELGIUM - The Algemeen Boerensyndicaat (ABS) is giving the government of Prime Minister Yves Leterme 10 days to come up with measures to counter soaring fuel prices and falling profit margins.
Members of the ABS are planning to join the demonstration on Wednesday in Brussels. But the ABS expects a concrete answer from the government.
If there is no concrete response from the government to the protest over rising fuel prices and lower purchasing power, the ABS has threatened to paralyse Belgium, with demonstrations at Zaventem (Brussels International Airport), the ports and at selected railway stations.
"Fuel prices have skyrocketed. We need fuel to run our tractors, heating systems, for fertilizer, and to fun the feeding systems for the animals. Costs have gone up by 30-45 percent. We have to pay to be able to produce," says Camiel Adriaens of the ABS.
"We want to make it clear how little we are getting for our products compared to what people have to pay in the stores.
"We observe that the politicians are not paying much attention to our grievances, so now we are demanding that they take short-term measures."
ABS speaks tough language
The ABS is demanding a vat reduction from 21 to 6 percent on all fuel and energy bills for the sector, a study on price-making along the food chain, and a better distribution of profit margins.
On Wednesday the ABS will take part in the demonstration in Brussels, together Walloon farmers' organisations, lorry drivers and others.
"With the other organisations we will demonstrate and put mild pressure on the government Wednesday, but if there is no political reaction, we will have to resort to tougher action and we will paralyse the ports and airports of Belgium," warned Adriaens.
The largest farmers' union in Flanders, De Boerenbond, is not in favour of road blockades against the high diesel prices at the moment. But the Boerenbond is also asking the government to take urgent action to relieve the crisis in many sectors
[flandersnews.be / Expatica]