Matecna: Farmers’ Protest Political Activity of Opposition

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Agriculture Minister Gabriela Matecna (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 20 (TASR) – Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matecna (Slovak National Party/SNS) stated on Wednesday that the protesting farmers in Bratislava who received an invitation from Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini to participate in the Government session on the same day represent their own objectives and not the interests of farmers.

Matecna views the protest as political activity by the opposition.

“I have to say that as a vice-chair of the Government, agriculture minister and a member of SNS I don’t think that such people should participate in a Government session. Of course, the prime minister has a legitimate right to invite anyone to a session, but from my point of view the invited people are connected to a criminal environment,” stated Matecna.

“Neither should we legitimise people who pretend to be apolitical, when almost every single organiser of the protest is a member of an opposition party,” she stated.

According to Matecna, the protest is being carried out by people who pretend to be farmers, but many of them don’t own even a square metre of land. “Then there are farmers with thousands of hectares of land who have been awarded more than €6 million from EU funds. They say that they can’t provide for their families, but the tractors they came on cost more than €150,000 to €200,000. The costs for travelling [on the tractors] from Kosice to Bratislava add up to approximately €6,000,” said Matecna.

The minister stated that the farmers are “pushing at an open door”, as the ministry has been dealing with their requests for a very long time.

Matecna added that she will address the matter once more when the Government session ends.