French Farmers Plan to Blockade Total Refineries and Fuel Depots
13 June, 2018, 20:29
Lambert, who said unions wanted assurances that France would defend its farmers' interests more robustly in Brussels, signalled protests could resume if talks with the government did not yield enough. President of the National Federation of Agricultural Holders' Unions Christiane Lambert insisted that the imports can undermine French agriculture, according to local media.
It said on Monday morning the blockade by farmers had not had an impact on operations.
French farmers were blocking access to oil depots and at least three refineries using tonnes of onions, wood and rubble on Monday as part of a three-day protest over plans to allow Total to use palm oil at a biofuel plant. The companies, on the other hand, have urged people to not panic-buy gas as it would result in shortages.
Hulot had said past year France would take steps to restrict the use of palm oil in producing biofuels in order to reduce deforestation in the countries of origin, without detailing the measures. Environmentalists also blame palm oil cultivation for deforestation in southeast Asia.
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Widespread fuel shortages were not expected, however, given France's network of seven refineries, 200 fuel depots, emergency fuel reserves, and the absence of sympathy action by fuel sector workers.
Indonesia and Malaysia are the two largest producers of palm oil. Palm oil is cheaper than rapeseed oil.
According to Deutsche Welle, they are also anxious about emerging competition, as local biofuel producers might want to go over to a cheaper palm oil from overseas instead of buying locally produced and more expensive rapeseed oil.
There is a need to maintain the EU's main source of protein feed that are the co-product of biofuels, the European farmers association Copa-Cogeca told EURACTIV.com as the Commission announced its intention to draw up an EU-wide "protein strategy".
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