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What is the cause of European discontent?

На какво се дължи европейското недоволство?

The farmers' protests attracted widespread public support in France, even from truck drivers like Donf, whose livelihoods were threatened by the highway blockades that were part of the protests.

Donf lives in the Paris suburb of Bussy-Saint-Antoine, but comes from the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, where agriculture is developed and many people buy directly from local farmers.

Farmers' protests across Europe this week have shown how farmers and households are being hurt these days by multiple factors, including persistent inflation, high interest rates and volatile energy prices.

“We understand their anger because we value farmers. What will we do if they are gone? We have nothing to eat. Such protests are important," said Donf.

Governments including France, Spain and Greece have agreed in recent days to pour hundreds of millions of euros into the agricultural sector to appease the protesters. The EU has granted concessions to farmers, partly because of the European Parliament elections in June this year.

At a local farmers' market in France this week, a number of shoppers specifically chose more expensive French meat and vegetables over cheaper imports in solidarity with the protests.

"I am aware that it is not easy for some people to spend more money on food, but since my pension allows me to do so, I decided to choose French products," said Patrick Jobard, a pensioner.

Prices of wheat, corn and other grains - except for rice - are lower than they were before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which then sent global food prices to record highs in 2022.

Now, "consumers are not seeing much benefit from lower prices for wheat and other food commodities traded on world markets, as the price spike seen in grocery stores is disappointing to say the least," said Joseph Glauber, Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute.

According to him, the problems are rooted in the common European policy, which does not try to solve the problems in the sector, but is guided by lobbyist and financial interests.

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