More Trucker Unrest in Europe

September 28, 2000

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Although the Spanish government reached an agreement with some farmer's groups angry over diesel prices today, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar is standing firm against demands for a cut in fuel taxes.

Meanwhile, Polish truckers were protesting, not against fuel prices, but against slow border crossings.
According to Associated Press reports, two Spanish farmer associations settled for a $270 million package of income- and value-added tax breaks and other compensation after talks concluded early this morning.
The Union of Smallscale Farmers and the Association of Young Farmers said they still supported and belonged to a coaltion of sectors that depend on fossil fuels, but would not take part in nationwide protests scheduled to start Oct 2. The coalition includes associations of truckers and fishermen, both of which are still negotiating with the government.
The fuel protest began in Spain two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, some 2,000 Polish truckers blocked the main Swiecko border crossing today with Germany in protest at slow Polish customs procedures, causing a 19 mile backup on the Polish side of the border, according to Agence France Presse.
Truckers are demanding the replacement of a private company contracted to perform customs duties and which they accuse of demanding bribes to speed up customs clearance.
Negotiations to resolve the dispute were under way between truckers' representatives and local officials, said AFP.

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