Across Europe, there is a cold war brewing that most Americans have failed to either take an interest in or understand the importance of. Starting in the Netherlands, farm owners, workers, and their families have protested the government’s attempt to shut down their farms. This not only negatively impacts those who make their living cultivating the land, but the whole world, because the Netherlands is the second largest exporter of food in the world behind the United States.
A report from January 2020 on the importance of the Netherlands’ agricultural prominence stated,
“So why is the agricultural sector so important to our country?
For starters, about 600,000 people work in the agricultural sector. In addition to farmers, these people, for example, work at feed factories, slaughterhouses, transport companies, veterinary practices, or as scientific researchers. This makes the agricultural sector a significant employer in the Netherlands.”
This means, that not only does the country itself depend on dutch farmers to power the engine of their economy, but the European Union and trade partners all over the world would go hungry without it. That begs the question, would the government be trying to shut down this important part of their economy?
The decision stems back to a 2019 decision by the Council of the State, the Netherlands’ highest administrative court, which ruled the country was violating EU law by not eliminating enough of their nitrogen levels in “vulnerable areas”. This meant the Dutch government had to take drastic steps to cut their nitrogen levels, reducing speed limits, and suspending infrastructure projects would do a little, but most of the savings would be made by cutting into the agricultural sector.
ABC News reported,
“Calling it an “unavoidable transition,” the government-mandated reductions in emissions of up to 70% in many places close to protected nature areas and as high as 95% in other places.”
The EU sets these extreme goals, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland, France, and almost every other member state is subject to the same standards, they are only relatively less affected due to more diverse economies. This has not prevented, however, the unrest and protest from spreading across the continent.
Germany was next, being the Netherlands’ biggest trading partner this was predictable, as their farmers blocked roads protesting the EU’s totalitarian and undemocratic mandates.
As this movement spread across Europe, back at ground zero things were escalating. The Dutch Government was not backing down from their suicidal plan, so the farmers kept pushing forward.
As Reuters reported, the farmers started shutting down supermarket distribution centers, contributing to the empty shelves already plaguing even the richest nations around the world. In Lochem, about an hour and a half east of Amsterdam, the farmers sprayed manure at the city hall.
In a concerning escalation, the police fired their weapons at an unarmed, 16-year-old kid, participating in the protest in his father’s tractor.
The path the EU is trying to force their member states down is not a new one. Both Sri Lanka’s President and Prime Minister resigned earlier this month following the viral reclamation of the president’s house by protestors over his disastrous policies. PM Rani Wickremesinghe even admitted that the country was bankrupt, starving, and deprived of fuel.
What went wrong in Sri Lanka?
As the DailyCaller reported,
“Sri Lanka’s economy collapsed after a ban on chemical fertilizers, intended to encourage environmentally-friendly organic farming practices, halved agricultural production so that the country was no longer self-sufficient. Global food shortages and a drop in tourism caused by the COVID-19 pandemic caused Sri Lanka to expend its foreign exchange reserves, forcing it into bankruptcy.”
Hopefully, the European farmers can hold the line and prevent their countries from falling victim to the same ploy that brought Sri Lanka to its knees. If they can’t, not only will tens of thousands lose their livelihood, but tens of millions will go hungry without their agricultural exports.