The European Commission has approved a plan put forward by the Dutch government to buy out thousands of farmers in order to meet the EU’s Natura 2000 goals to allegedly protect the environment.
The scheme would offer farmers 120% of the value of their farms and could see around 3,000 “high-emission” farms shut down. The Dutch government also has a proposal to give dairy, pig, and poultry farmers a deal for 100% of the value of their farms should they choose to shut down.
The EU’s Natura 2000 plan is aimed at cutting nitrogen emissions, but it could have a significant impact on the Dutch farming industry, one of the most productive in Europe. The government hopes to set aside 1.4 billion euros for the farm shutdown schemes.
The Dutch government’s proposal is not final, as the buyout scheme must be managed at the provincial level. The government faces opposition from the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB) party, which became the single largest party in the Dutch Senate in March. There has also been doubt expressed by the CDA party within Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coalition following the BBB’s surprise victory.
The Farmer-Citizen Movement party has questioned whether the Rutte government was exaggerating the intransigence from the EU on the issue to push through limits on nitrogen fertilizers. The leader of the party, Caroline van der Plas, plans to meet with EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans to discuss the political implications of the scheme.
Dutch broadcaster NOS reported that an unelected Eurocrat, Diederik Samsom, advised the Rutte government to push forward with plans to enact forced buyouts of farmers in exchange for more “flexibility” from the EU on regulations.
The EU-backed policy of forcing farmers to sell their lands with government-backed compulsory purchase orders and plans to cut nitrogen emissions on farms between 50% and 95% has sparked nationwide protests.
Most controversially, the EU’s plan would also prohibit the Dutch farmers from fleeing to any other EU member to open up another farm.
Dutch political commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek said about an EU statement: “The EU has given the Dutch government the green light to buy out 3000 Dutch farmers offering the 120% of the market value, ‘incientivizing’ them to ‘voluntary’ (if they don’t, they’ll be expropriated later).”
“Oh, and they won’t be allowed to start over elsewhere in the EU,” she said.
The EU has given the Dutch government the green light to buy out 3000 #DutchFarmers offering them 120% of the market value, ‘incentivising’ them to sell ‘voluntary’ (if they don’t, they’ll be expropriated later).
Oh, and they won’t be allowed to start over elsewhere in the EU. pic.twitter.com/iuj220PEjK
— Eva Vlaardingerbroek (@EvaVlaar) May 2, 2023
“This is how they do it: they put a knife to the farmers’ throats,” Vlaardingerbroek added. “They make sure they don’t get their licenses renewed, they’re plaguing them with new rules & restrictions every day and then offer them a bride, knowing many will take it out of pure desperation. It’s all so vile.”
“I also highly doubt that prohibiting them to start over elsewhere in the EU is even legal. The whole idea of the EU was supposed to be about freedom of movement and freedom of workers. This is some next-level USSR stuff,” she said.
Follow Kyle Becker on Twitter @kylenabecker.