Rome, 18 March – It seems that Dutch farmers have dealt a severe blow to the ambitions of the centre-right liberal government of Mark Rutte; lackluster prime minister whose vitriolic statements towards Italy have remained etched in the memory of many; famous were, in fact, the words “Italy learns to do it alone! ” uttered in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, specifically during the debate on the Recovery Fund.
Holland, farmers deal a serious blow to the government
Thousands of farmers gathered last Saturday to protest against the incumbent government as reported by Remax: “The protesters accused the Dutch government of having forced farmers off privately owned land to appease Brussels and carried banners reading “No farmers, no food” and “There are no problems with nitrogen”. Remax also collected the words of Eva Vlaardingerbroek, an important activist in defense of farmers: “We are fighting against a corrupt and unjust government”. Vlaardingerbroek spoke of a government that “drives our farmers off their land” and that has “turned against its own population”.
Also according to Remax “last year, the government announced its intention to reduce the number of livestock by a third, while farmers have also been told their land may be subject to compulsory acquisition.” Since then, protest demonstrations have rightly flared up and the regional elections of 15 March have spoiled Rutte’s plans and the utopian green agendas of the European Union.
The “peasant” party that routs Rutte’s centre-right
In all likelihood, a good chunk of that arrogance and self-confidence must have gotten lost on the road recently. The electoral outcome could remain indigestible for the good Rutte because, as reported by the international press: “The exit polls show that the farmer-citizen movement (BoerBurgerBeweging, BBB), founded less than four years ago, is riding the wave of the recent protests, conquering the largest number of seats in the Dutch senate. (…) The BBB is on course to win 15 seats in the 75-seat Senate, ahead of the 10-seat Rutte’s centre-right party.
In Holland, a country with a great agricultural tradition, the BBB collects the protests of agricultural entrepreneurs who oppose the Rutte government plans to halve nitrogen emissions by 2030, a decision that would lead landowners themselves to drastically reduce the number of livestock, leading companies to almost certain bankruptcy. If the exit polls were to be confirmed, the blow dealt to Dutch and European environmental plans would be severe, the BBB could, in agreement with other parties, block the legislation on nitrogen and restore oxygen to farmers and breeders.
Exit polls show the peasant party in first place in all the provinces examined, including a stunning 31.3% in the heart of the rural Overijssel region and 14.3% in North Holland, which includes Amsterdam. “What’s going on here? We really knew we were going to win, but this is indescribable,” BBB leader Caroline van der Plas told public broadcaster NOS.