EU Backs Dutch Government’s Compulsory Farm Buy-Out Plan to Cut Nitrogen
The Dutch government's plan to cut nitrogen pollution by confiscating 3000 farms has been bolstered by eco-communists in Brussels.
The European Union has come to the rescue of the Dutch Government after it came under attack from a new farmer's political party. The farmer-friendly FarmerCitizenMovement (BBB) won a major victory in Dutch provincial elections last month, with the party then set to win the national election later this year.
However, the European Union has now come to the current government's aid issuing a series of directives supporting the plan. The Dutch government will forcibly purchase some 3000 farms worth nearly 1.5 billion euros (£1.32bn).
The plans is claimed to be because of the 'climate emergency', where the biggest bi-product of farming, nitrogen deposits from livestock, just happens to be a major greenhouse gas. So dangerous is nitrogen that 2/3rds of all Dutch livestock farming must be stopped, according to the EU.
Dutch agricultural exports had been worth 122.3 billion euros (£107bn) last year, according to the national statistics office, but that will be drastically and permanently reduced when the plan goes ahead. The Dutch ruling coalition has vowed to cut nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions, by 50% nationwide by 2030.
The plan, backed by the EU, appears to be Communist in nature. The farms will be forcibly turned over to the government before then being restarted. After the compulsory purchase the farm will be started up again, merely with the farmer no longer its owner. It states: "The schemes will improve the environment conditions in those areas and will promote a more sustainable and environmentally friendly production in the livestock sector, without unduly distorting competition. "
A key part of the Dutch strategy is buying up and halting work at farms responsible for large-scale emissions of nitrogen. However, that required confirmation from the European Commission that the buyouts do not amount to state aid that is banned under EU rules. Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president in charge of competition policy, said in a statement that the two schemes approved would clear the way for the “voluntary closure” of farms responsible for major nitrogen emissions.
“The schemes will improve the environment conditions in those areas and will promote a more sustainable and environmentally friendly production in the livestock sector, without unduly distorting competition,” she said.
The pro-agriculture political party won Dutch provincial elections in March, underscoring the depth of discontent among farmers and other sections of society that has been fuelled by the nitrogen reduction plans.
The Dutch central government has tasked provincial legislatures with formulating and implementing exact proposals to reduce nitrogen emissions. Farmers have held several large demonstrations, blocking highways and supermarket warehouses last year to protest against the reforms that they cast as a threat to their way of life.
The demonstrations have also spread to neighbouring Belgium, where hundreds of farmers drove their tractors into central Brussels last month to protest against plans to cut nitrogen pollution. The EU, fearing the Dutch Farmer's party could very well win the next election have held urgent talks with the Dutch ruling party to ensure that the plan goes ahead. Dutch officials have confirmed that the targets are 'legally binding' and therefore will go ahead regardless of election outcomes.