Romanian hauliers and farmers protest

Over the last weeks protest actions of farmers and the transport industries are taking place in various EU states, a.o in Poland and Germany. Also in Romania, protests by farmers and the transports industries representatives started on 10 January and have caused traffic problems.

Hauliers protest

Dozens of farm machinery, tractors and cargo trucks have crowded the main streets of several towns and reached border crossings. There were also incidents, and police have filed several criminal cases against those accused of inciting violence. At the same time, negotiations with government representatives did not produce any immediate results in terms of ending the protests. This is because some of the long list of demands could lead to economic imbalances and jeopardize European funds for Romania, officials say.

For example, some of the farmers and transporters present at the Finance Ministry talks demanded more tax breaks, such as exemption from paying social health insurance contributions. Tax exemptions in several sectors of the economy were abolished by the government earlier this year on the recommendation of several international financial institutions.

Other protesters have called for the introduction of a threshold for issuing e-invoices and the abolition of e-segile, the system for monitoring road transport of goods, under certain conditions. E-invoicing and e-seals are mechanisms used in all EU countries to combat tax evasion.

Government officials have said that they will urgently adopt legislation to address the problems, but measures to reduce tax evasion will not be eliminated. In fact, the Prime Minister considers them a red line that cannot be crossed. Finance Minister Marcel Bolos said in connection with the protesters' demand for grain from Ukraine that all measures concerning transit through Romania must  to be more intensive, stricter.

At the negotiations at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the representatives of the protesters had radical demands. For example, they demanded that they should stop paying VAT on fertilizers and seeds, and that they should be exempt from excise duty on fuel. At present, farmers receive excise duty subsidies.

One other sensitive issue that seems to have not yet been resolved is the payment of the mandatory auto insurance policy. Farmers and the transport industries complain that rates have exploded and have called for a price cap. Financial Supervisory Authority representatives say they are working on a project to change the calculation method for mandatory auto insurance  policies for less than 12 months, but also the possibility of suspending the contract and paying in instalments.

At the same time, the delegation led by farmers and the transport industries  have received assurances from the Ministries of Agriculture and Transport that dedicated lanes will be established at the borders and in the Port of Constanta allowing only lorries from EU Member States to transit.

In addition, there will be further discussions with the responsible authorities so that farmers will no longer be obliged to pay - Periodical Technical Inspection (ITP) for certain agricultural machinery - such as ploughs.

At the meeting held on Monday 15 January at the Ministry of Agriculture, representatives of agricultural associations, nationally recognized for their representativeness, discussed in detail a total of 13 demands presented by farmers. For each of these issues, solutions were identified and precise deadlines for their implementation were proposed. In the context of these discussions and solutions, should union members choose to protest publicly, we respectfully suggest that they cease all forms of protest and join our joint approach to communicating with the Ministry of Agriculture," a union statement said. The trade unionists say they will strictly monitor and follow the deadlines set for the implementation of the agreed measures, "in accordance with the protocol agreed at the meeting". The Alliance for Agriculture and Cooperation (AAC) and the Patriotic Farmers' Union have announced that they are calling off the protests, following the agreement signed with the Ministry of Agriculture.