No protests, but – Lower Austrian farmers’ association: “Don’t live in the land of milk and honey”


Wednesday marks four years since the first corona lockdown took place in Austria. In addition to restrictions on going out, this brought one thing in particular: panic buying, closed borders and, as a result, empty supermarket shelves. Paul Nemecek, director of the Lower Austrian Farmers’ Association, talks to Jana Pasching in the about the systemic relevance of local farmers, how quickly their importance is forgotten in Brussels and why there are no farmers’ protests in this country.

Four years after the Corona lockdowns, the Lower Austrian Farmers’ Association would like to remind people of the valuable asset of domestic security of supply. “Our farmers experienced a high degree of appreciation during this time.” However, the word systemically important became a buzzword that seemed to quickly fade into oblivion, as Nemecek explains: “This high level of appreciation for our farmers has been reversed by left-wing NGOs and politicians in Brussels and farmers and their animals are being declared climate sinners.”

Since then, farmers have been saddled with bureaucratic measures. The obligation to set aside valuable fields and pastures and the lack of adjustment of agricultural compensation payments, despite rising inflation, are just a few examples. “There is more and more paperwork and less agriculture.”

Why are there no demonstrations in Austria?
Farmers’ protests have been raging in many European countries since the beginning of the year. But in small Austria there is no resistance. Liberal farmers called for action in January, but it was manageable. So are we living in the promised land? ‘We do not live in a land of milk and honey. Our farmers also work and suffer in the same conditions as the European Union.” Unlike our German neighbors, Austria would have a federal government that would see what farmers have done in the Corona crisis and what a valuable asset it is for security of supply. Nemecek reminds us of the security of supply bonus, subsidies for diesel and also electricity.

“New laws every seven years”
However, most directives would come from Brussels: “We need a clear change of direction in Brussels – from the top,” says Nemecek. In concrete terms, this concerns major issues, such as planning safety. “The laws of European agricultural policy are rewritten every seven years. That means they have an expiration date – everything is new every seven years.” There is no other law that is treated like this, said the director of the Lower Austrian Farmers’ Association.

“What if we had a new building code every seven years? The housebuilder would be completely ruined,” Nemecek draws comparisons. And that is exactly how it is for farmers in agricultural policy: steel buildings and machine investments simply need time to become profitable and the European Union is not giving that time. “It is clear that we need to pull the teeth out of this bureaucratic monster of agricultural policy.”

Watch the full interview with Paul Nemecek above!

We explain what the whole of Austria is currently dealing with: the latest news conversations with politicians and experts.

Source: Krone


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