Macron at the Agricultural Show: what now? After the clashes, what announcements?

After the clashes which broke out at the Agricultural Show, Emmanuel Macron spoke with farmers and promised several measures.

Macron at the Agricultural Show: what now? After the clashes, what announcements?

After the clashes which broke out at the Agricultural Show, Emmanuel Macron spoke with farmers and promised several measures.

During a particularly tense opening day of the Agricultural Show, Emmanuel Macron promised to bring together at the Elysée "all the trade union organizations, all the agricultural sectors" in three weeks. After the clashes and boos caused by the visit of the Head of State, Emmanuel Macron spoke at length with the farmers in the aisles of the Salon. According to the President of the Republic, the Minister of Agriculture Marc Fesneau and the Minister Delegate Agnès Pannier-Runacher, as well as the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, "will bring together the banks and also all sectors to to be able to put these cash flow plans in place", starting next week. This emergency cash flow plan will support French farmers. He also announced the launch of “a census in each region of farms which are in the greatest cash flow difficulties in order to be able to support them”.

The head of state declared that he wanted the establishment of “floor prices which will protect agricultural income”. “It’s the most engaging thing we’ve ever done,” assured Emmanuel Macron. Prices will be based on production cost indicators on which each sector had to agree. He specifies that he wants to make these indicators “opposable”. Emmanuel Macron also pledged to “recognize our agriculture and our food as a major general interest of the French nation”. This name would be included in the law, “which will protect our agriculture in a firm and solid manner,” explained the president. Emmanuel Macron insisted on wanting to avoid a pesticide being banned in France before the rest of the European Union. He explains this desire by asserting that this could harm competitive relations.

On Saturday, clashes broke out between demonstrators and the security service in the aisles of the Salon. While farmers tried to force their way onto several stands, the police, including the CRS 8 company, were deployed. Chants of insults aimed at Emmanuel Macron were sung. “Macron resignation”, “shit”, “get out”, were chanted when the president officially cut the ribbon during his inauguration of the Salon.

Hundreds of tractors reached the capital on Friday February 23 morning at the call of Rural Coordination. “We are not listened to in the region, so we are getting closer to decision-makers,” Nicolas Bongay, president of the union in Doubs, declared on France Bleu. Other trade union organizations, notably the FNSEA and the Young Farmers, organized a second demonstration in Paris to go to the entrance to the Agricultural Show on the eve of its opening. A few hours before the inauguration of the 2024 edition of the agricultural show, farmers were therefore waiting for President Emmanuel Macron and his Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, to stand firm.

The 60th Agricultural Show will not be an edition like any other, the unions have assured it and the event risks taking place in a climate of tension, at least between politicians and farmers. Because it is above all the visits of members of the executive and other political representatives who are in the viewfinder.

Intelligence was on alert and anticipated possible disturbances around the arrival of the President of the Republic who "risks being whistled", according to a note consulted by BFMTV. The farmers themselves have warned of the noisy welcome that could be reserved for the head of state. “We will never be able to prevent the president from returning. On the other hand, we will manage the atmosphere inside the show and [it will] rather be whistles than cheers,” said the president of the FDSEA du Tarn- et-Garonne, Francis Ambrogio, at the microphone of the news channel. The trade unionist planned to go to Paris with colleagues on a bus. There are several unions "bringing their members" by bus according to the intelligence services and "many members of the Rural Coordinations plan to enter the lounge 'as simple visitors' to be present inside", predicts the note.

“We are not going to block the show because our farmers are going to bring their produce there and sell it, but we are going to challenge the politicians who will be present,” assured the co-president of the Lot-et-Rural Coordination. Garonne, José Perez, to the daily La Dépêche. Several heads of political parties have already announced their arrival. The president of the Salon de l'agriculture, Jean-Luc Poulain, asked politicians not to indulge in an "easy recovery from agricultural malaise".

Even before the launch of the Agricultural Show, the Head of State was already the subject of criticism about the major debate that he said he wanted to organize with stakeholders from the agricultural world. Representatives of the two main agricultural unions, the FNSEA and Young Farmers, as well as that of the Agricultural Coordination announced that they will not participate in the exchange organized by the executive. All denounced a “masquerade” or an attempt at manipulation. Even on the mass distribution side, there are criticisms. Michel-Edouard Leclerc refused to participate in what he considers to be "gross manipulation" or a "comm stunt not really relevant to the situation" made in a "crappy" announcement.

Not only did he not participate in the debate, the president of the FNSEA, Arnaud Rousseau, asked on the social network of farmers is flouted by this approach which bears the hallmark of provocation. In this climate of exasperation, and faced with the risk of boiling over, we ask that this debate not be held.