OPINION

Protesting farmers are poised…

It is not yet clear what the outlook is for protesting farmers nor can one be sure whether they will resort to using their tractors to block crucial road junctions, causing transport chaos, as they have done in the past. The general impression is that farmers are not keen to embark on aggressive protest action, chiefly because they are aware that this would provoke public dissent and opposition from all social groups; however, they themselves do not appear to hold much hope that their demands will be accepted. Moreover, the fact that they have not succeeded in creating a united «front» has also had a negative impact on their action. Indeed, the cotton producers of Macedonia regard the «irregularities» and tricks of their Thessaly counterparts as the reason behind subsidy cuts for all farmers. The proposal made by the government on Tuesday appears to be both logical and fair: By requiring all farmers to submit their crops for new inspections, the state will be able to disqualify those who fraudulently declared larger crop quantities and will divide the total subsidy among the remaining farmers, ensuring that the latter get a better cut. The government expects these new inspections to result in about a fifth of the country’s 85,000 farmers or so losing their right to crop subsidies. But despite the fairness and the legality of this measure, unionists find it difficult to accept… and are demanding a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis…