Brussels’ European District faced significant disruption on Tuesday morning as farmers from various agricultural organizations staged a protest against EU agricultural policy. The demonstration, coinciding with a meeting of EU farming and fisheries ministers, saw farmers driving their tractors en masse towards the heart of Brussels, causing traffic chaos particularly in the east and southeast of the city.

The protest, organized by farmers from Flanders and Wallonia, aimed to highlight concerns about the perceived impact of EU agricultural policy on their livelihoods. One of the key grievances cited by demonstrators is the perceived impracticality of certain regulations, such as deadlines for harvests and requirements regarding rotation crops.

Stijn Zelderloo, a demonstrator, emphasized the challenges faced by farmers in adhering to EU agricultural policies, stating, “There are aspects that are not feasible, e.g. bringing in harvests before certain dates or respecting rotation crops. It might be feasible in the larger agricultural countries, but here it is not. We are too dependent on weather conditions.”

The protest escalated as farmers converged on the junction of Wetstraat and Willem de Zwijgerstraat at 10:30, where they staged what they described as a “symbolic action.” The timing of the protest, coinciding with the EU ministers’ meeting, aimed to draw attention to farmers’ concerns and pressure policymakers to address their grievances.

The disruption caused by the protest prompted authorities to advise the public against traveling to Brussels by car during Tuesday morning rush hour. The blockade of key roads and intersections in the European District underscored the farmers’ determination to amplify their voices and demand action on EU agricultural policies.