Belgian farmers to block Zeebrugge port - report

Farmers also blocked traffic near Dutch border
calendar icon 30 January 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Belgian farmers outraged over rising costs, European Union environmental policies and cheap food imports, plan to block access roads to the Zeebrugge container port in Belgium from Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing the financial daily, De Tijd.

The protesters plan to bar access to the North Sea port, the country's second largest, for at least 36 hours from 1400 CET (1300 GMT), the paper reported, citing organisers and police, adding the roadblock could last until Wednesday evening.

"Police services have received information about an action at the Zeebrugge port," a port authority spokesman said. He said it was not clear what the action would entail.

Farmers also disrupted traffic close to the Dutch border on the E19 highway on Tuesday morning, with a tractor convoy heading towards the port city of Antwerp, state broadcaster RTBF said.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo is set to meet with farmers' associations on Tuesday.

In recent weeks, farmers across Europe, including Germany, Poland, Romania and France have demonstrated over what they call excessive red tape, high fuel costs and unfair competition resulting from liberal European Union trade policies.

The Belgian protest movement was boosted by similar outrage in France, where angry farmers have set up dozens of roadblocks and increasingly disrupted traffic around Paris, putting the government under pressure.

Looking for a way out of the crisis, French President Emmanuel Macron has told the European Commission that it was impossible to conclude trade deal negotiations with South America's Mercosur bloc.

On Monday, Belgian farmers blocked highways in southern Belgium and parked tractors near to the EU Parliament in Brussels.

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