IMF chief warns that European governments may regret supporting farmers' protests

IMF chief warns that European governments may regret supporting farmers' protests

Governments should resist calls to increase financial support for farmers protesting in Europe, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said.

According to Ukrinform, this was reported by France24.

"You see the farmers protesting. On the human level I understand they face more hardship and it is not easy to do the job they do," Georgieva said during a press briefing at the International Monetary Fund's offices in Washington.

"But if that sentiment continues and it pushes governments in a corner in which they find themselves unable to do what is necessary for (the) strength of the economies, then there may be days to regret," she added.

Thousands of farmers from across Europe protested in Brussels Thursday during a meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on "the future of European agriculture."

After the summit, Macron told reporters that France had managed to persuade the EU to "impose stricter rules" for cereal and poultry imports, including from Ukraine.

"I was talking to a number of policymakers, especially on the finance minister side, and they recognise the importance of fiscal consolidation," Georgieva said.

She called on governments around the world to work on rebuilding fiscal buffers depleted by the Covid-19 pandemic by closing tax loopholes and assessing the quality of existing public spending.

Read also: Farmers to have their verification revoked in case of export rule violations in certain EU countries

As Ukrinform reported, the first round of negotiations between farmers and the authorities took place on Friday, January 26. Then dozens of checkpoints were removed across France, and the Prime Minister, after meeting with farmers' leaders, promised to take ten immediate steps to make life easier for farmers.

Farmers' protests are intensifying across Europe. Earlier in France, a protester was killed during a road blockade by farmers when a car rammed into straw bales that farmers had used to block the road.

In early January, German farmers launched a nationwide protest, organizing "tractor marches" and blocking highways across the country.

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