By blocking roads, dumping manure and protesting in front of politicians’ homes, Dutch farmers have drawn themselves to the world’s attention, as they consider the country’s climate policy to be overrated, unfair and ineffective.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte has committed to halving nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands by 2030, as the level of nitrogen oxides in the country’s air and water is higher than EU regulations allow.
Since most emissions come from the waste of more than 100 million farm animals, the government wants to reduce the number of cattle, pigs and poultry by a third.
Despite its small size, the Netherlands is the second largest exporter of agricultural products after the United States. The sudden announcement that quite a few farms are closing and farmers may face compulsory purchases sparked activity and opposition from farmers.
Despite the fact that many in rural areas are aware of the importance of the climate crisis, Rutte has faced sharp criticism, and more than 10,000 farmers have joined mass demonstrations ahead of the provincial elections on March 11. As a symbol of their movement, many have hung or waved the country’s flag upside down.
As a result of the revitalization of rural farmers, their party BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB) won a major victory in the provincial elections on March 15, which aims to appoint the Dutch legislature, the Senate.
The ruling party overtook Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s People’s Party, the Party for Freedom and Democracy, to become the third largest political force in the Netherlands. And its overwhelming performance severely called into question support for climate policy aimed at reducing nitrogen emissions.
Founded BBB in 2019 Caroline van der Blas Agricultural journalist. The party’s popularity jumped mainly in the northern and eastern part of the country, which deals with agriculture, as a result of government plans to restrict ranching.
With seats in the Dutch Senate, the BBB could ally with far-right parties to block new regulations on nitrogen emissions.
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