The Dutch farmers’ organizations are very disappointed after the conversation with the government led by nitrogen mediator Johan Remkes. That is what Jeroen van Maanen said on behalf of the eight farmers’ organizations that took part in a debriefing in Wageningen. They say they represent 95 percent of the Dutch agricultural sector.

    According to Van Maanen, a hand was extended to the government on behalf of the farmers. “However, it was not accepted, which was a condition for a follow-up interview. The broken trust has not been restored,” it sounds.

    Mark Rutte was also present at the conversation in Utrecht. After the consultation, the Dutch prime minister apologized about the ‘nitrogen map’ of his cabinet. He acknowledges that the map, which states how much less nitrogen can be deposited per area, has led to “great confusion” and “misunderstandings” among farmers.

    Many farmers deduced from the map how much less nitrogen they themselves will be allowed to emit in the future. “But it doesn’t work that way,” said the prime minister.

    “Constructive Conversation”

    Remkes himself thought it was a constructive conversation, despite the crisis of confidence that prevails between the government and the agricultural sector. According to the mediator, farmers feel that they are not being listened to, that their questions remain unanswered and that how much they have already done to reduce nitrogen emissions is underestimated.

    Mediator Johan Remkes. © ANP

    Now we have to wait and see what the cabinet will offer, says Van Maanen. “I think we can sense that if farmers become even more disappointed, actions cannot be ruled out.”

    “Farmers are fed up”

    According to Van Maanen, farmers’ organizations have been constructively involved in discussions for 2.5 years. “Farmers are just fed up. There is no perspective, no clarity.” To ensure that the parties return to the table, the points and demands that have already been made in the past will have to be moved. “The ball is in The Hague.”

    Agractie calls Remkes’ mediation a failure. “Remkes has not been able to bring the parties into discussion with the cabinet,” it sounds. Foreman Bart Kemp now expects the cabinet to come up with something. According to him, Rutte and Remkes have seen that the gap is large and that they cannot let the farmers burst. “Farmers will not accept that either, they will continue to fight for their future.”

    Kemp and Van Maanen were unable to say whether this means that actions will take place tonight. According to Kemp, there will be a “beautiful, positive action” in Utrecht and in Amsterdam on Saturday. The Canal Parade will then take place in the capital. “There will also be tractors and farmers handing out products,” says Kemp. “And I expect that there will also be stronger actions.”