Already 100 million lost due to attacks on Spanish truck drivers near French border

by Lorraine Williamson
Spanish truck drivers

Spanish  truck drivers lose around €12 million a day due to attacks by French farmers at the border.  This has been calculated by the Spanish Confederation of Freight Transport (CETM).

The carriers do not receive this money because they cannot drive the route due to lack of safety. Every day, around 20,000 trucks drive through the Pyrenees. And since last Wednesday, the losses have already reached around €100 million. The CETM’s figure only takes into account the money that remains unpaid. But to that almost €100 million euros must be added the damage to vehicles and  the losses in the products that the attackers destroy or steal. 

Free transit of goods impossible 

‘Carriers can’t drive their route. Some drivers saw their cargo lost, others just can’t get through,” said Deputy Secretary General of the CETM, Duls Díaz, in a conversation with EL ESPAÑOL-Invertia. According to him, drivers could not even get past the border town of La Junquera on Thursday. 

Unfair competition 

French farmers say they are suffering  from unfair competition from Spanish products. This is the argument they use to vandalise trucks and destroy and steal Spanish products. 

This does not correspond to the reality of the European market. All countries must comply with the same requirements of Brussels. French farmers see that Spanish products are cheaper. But this may be due to the price of labour or the production itself.  

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Attacks on Spanish truck drivers not new 

The attacks on Spanish truck drivers on the border with France are not new, in fact, Díaz denounces that “this has been happening for 40 years, without the National Gendarmerie.” According to Spanish transporters, French farmers can do their thing this way. “They don’t even cover their faces,” says the CETM leader as proof of the “impunity” they denounce. Despite the gravity of the situation, the CETM excludes the initiation of mobilisations. “What we need is to be allowed to work,” Diaz says. In addition, he showed understanding: ‘we understand that there are other sectors with problems; French farmers are in trouble. But their problems will not be solved by setting fire to Spanish trucks.” 

Brussels asks for an explanation 

Brussels has asked France for an explanation for blocking the passage of Spanish trucks. In addition, the  European Commission (EC) has ruled out the alleged unfair competition denounced by French farmers, which French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has also hinted at. 

Sánchez in conversation with Macron 

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday. He condemned the attack on Spanish transporters and  producers, “who do their work legally and who supply European markets and households with their efforts.” Sánchez immediately took the opportunity to respond to the former French Minister of Ecology, Ségolène Royal, who criticised Spanish tomatoes by saying “Spanish tomato is unbeatable”. 

Border with Portugal 

The problem has also moved to the border with Portugal, albeit peacefully in this case. On Thursday morning, Portuguese farmers blocked some of the country’s highways  near the border with Spain to protest cuts to the European Union’s common agricultural policy (CAP). 

Also read: Angry French winegrowers empty trucks full of Spanish wine

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