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Dutch government, farmers in talks on emission cut targets

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) Representatives of Dutch farmers were meeting Friday with Prime Minister Mark Rutte along with other Cabinet ministers to go over the governments nitrogen emissions reduction goals which have sparked disruptive protests in recent weeks.

However the prospect of success appeared slim, with two main activist farmers organizations demanding concessions rather than attending since they have no rely upon the veteran politician appointed to do something as intermediary. They state the mediator, Johan Remkes, isn’t independent.

Rutte didn’t comment to reporters as he entered the meeting in the central city of Utrecht.

Farmers angry at the target of slashing nitrogen emissions 50% by 2030 have blockaded supermarket distribution centers, parked tractors on highways and dumped garbage including manure and asbestos on roads in recent weeks.

Rutte has criticized what he said are small sets of farmers who he says have endangered others with the type of these protests. Willfully endangering others, damaging our infrastructure and threatening individuals who help tidy up is beyond all limits, he wrote on Twitter the other day.

The federal government has been forced to do something after courts recently began blocking permits for infrastructure and housing projects as the country was missing its emissions targets.

The federal government has earmarked a supplementary 24.3 billion euros ($25.6 billion) to finance agricultural reforms that may likely make many farmers drastically reduce their amount of livestock or remove them altogether. Provincial authorities have already been given per year to formulate plans to cut emissions.

Sjaak van der Tak, chairman of the primary farmers lobby group LTO, said the talks were vital. LTO represents some 30,000 farms in holland.

It really is of enormous importance that people, alongside the other agricultural parties, really expect something out of this Cabinet, Van der Tak said on his way in to the talks.

LTO says you can find nearly 54,000 agricultural businesses in holland with exports totaling 94.5 billion euros in 2019.

The Dutch minister in charge of nitrogen, Christianne van der Wal, said she had no expectations heading in to the talks.

First, listen, she said.

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