FNSEA calls for end of blockade of refineries

The FNSEA and the Young Farmers asked their troops on Wednesday to suspend the blockage of refineries and oil depots started on Sunday after having obtained guarantees from the Minister of Agriculture on certain demands.

“We are going to ask our network to immediately suspend the blockades of sites,” said the president of Young Farmers (JA), Jérémy Decerle, during a joint press conference with the FNSEA. “Today there is a lot of openness, a lot of appointments.”

FNSEA leader Christiane Lambert stressed that the suspension would be gradual during the day and did not rule out “coming back” to block the refineries.

According to a spokesperson for Total, the lifting of the blockade began in the late afternoon and was due to end on Thursday, marking the end of a movement that caused shortages at 145 petrol stations on a network of 2,200 in France, without affecting the internal activity of the group’s refineries.

The FNSEA had called this night for the maintenance of blockages, following negotiations with the Minister of Agriculture, but the receipt of a draft letter from Stéphane Travert made it possible in the morning to unblock the situation. The farmers who occupy the blocked sites are heads of farms who must return to work, explained Christiane Lambert.

“It is a suspension because we have pointed out subjects that will not be resolved by snapping our fingers. If we do not have open site meetings in the coming weeks we will come back,” she said. .

The movement was triggered by the authorization given to Total to import palm oil to run its biofuel refinery in La Mède, in the Bouches-du-Rhône.

Working with the rapeseed sector

The FNSEA asks the government to defend, during forthcoming discussions with Total, a decrease in palm oil imports and an increase in the volumes of French rapeseed purchased beyond the threshold of 50,000 tonnes advanced for the moment, at a fixed price. in agreement with the sectors.

“What we are asking the Total company is to work with the rapeseed sector to establish contracts,” said Agriculture Minister Stéphane Travert at a press point where he said he was satisfied “with to reach an agreement and to see an end to the disturbances for our fellow citizens “.

“We want Total to be able to go further than these 50,000 tonnes, and that the curves between 300,000 and 50,000 will be crossed and that in the long term it will be able to obtain French rapeseed”, he added. .

“We will vigorously defend our red lines (…) we will defend our sectors” within the European framework, he said, citing in particular the fight against unfair competition linked to lower agricultural standards.

According to the second vice-president of the FNSEA Henri Bies-Péré, Emmanuel Macron will meet with the CEO of Total Patrick Pouyanné at the end of the week.

Total has undertaken to limit the supply of crude palm oil to the La Mède biorefinery to less than 50% of the volumes of raw materials processed on the site, ie a maximum of 300,000 tonnes per year.

Meetings in July

A meeting of the standards renovation committee is scheduled for July 13, bringing together the ministries of Agriculture, Ecological Transition, Labor and Health to address in particular intra-community distortions, said Christiane Lambert.

The FNSEA is also calling for the renewal of certain exemptions from contributions for seasonal workers, which may change, a subject on which “technical meetings will take place in early July”, she added.

“We haven’t had a ringing bell but the door is not closed,” she said.

The unions claimed Wednesday the mobilization of 3,000 farmers on 18 refinery or storage sites, blockages which began, according to the president of the FNSEA, to pose supply problems in certain regions.

“What is happening today is the exasperation of farmers who see products coming from elsewhere, who do not respect the same production rules at all”, she said earlier on France 2.

“The minister recognized that there were distortions of competition within Europe and with third countries”, she explained on France 2. “We want him to write in black and white that France will bring to Brussels a stronger voice to say ‘beware of abusive imports which put European agriculture in difficulty’. “

The Secretary of State for the Ecological Transition Sébastien Lecornu has undertaken to bring to the European level a proposal for a gradual reduction of the ceiling on palm oil imports.

(With Reuters)