Thousands of farmers in Slovenia have demonstrated against EU green laws in large-scale tractor protests reminiscent of those that have rocked Dutch politics.
Organisers have warned the government they will step up the protests unless it agrees to meet the farmers.
“We expect they will receive us within ten days. If not, we will step up our activities,” Trade Union of Slovenian Farmers President Anton Medved said.
He said farmers had been “sacrificed for the environmental experiments of activists and civil servants.”
“Green countryside and national prosperity are the results of the work of farmers. We will not let that be destroyed,” he added.
About 5,000 Slovenian farmers drove through nearly two dozen cities and towns on Friday in scenes similar to the tractor protests in the Netherlands.
The Slovenian farmers want the number of EU-protected Natura 2000 sites scaled back. There are 355 Natura sites in Slovenia, which cover more than a third of the country.
They were also protesting against a court ruling restricting pesticide use in a water protection area around Ljubljana, the capital, and rising wolf and bear numbers in the south west that threaten livestock.
Dutch farmers oppose plans to cut livestock numbers and buy up and close farms close to Natura 2000 sites to reduce nitrogen emissions and hit EU climate targets.
Earlier this month, the Farmers-Citizen Movement (BBB) won a landslide victory in regional elections to become the largest party in all 12 Dutch provinces in a vote overshadowed by tractor protests that drew global attention.
The protests led to copycat demonstrations from Belgian farmers in neighbouring Flanders.
On Sunday, Caroline van der Plas, the leader of the BBB, claimed to have no ambition to become prime minister.
But she refused to rule out taking over from Mark Rutte, the prime minister, and added, “never say never”.
Polls showed the party she founded in 2019 would be the largest in the Netherlands if a general election was called.
The BBB’s victory has put the Netherlands’ ruling four party coalition government under pressure and raised questions over whether it can survive to the end of the year.
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