French farmers empty Spanish wine tank

French winegrowers emptied a tank container carrying Spanish wine in protest at what they claim is unfair competition.

Some 500 winegrowers from the departments of Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales blocked the Le Perthus border crossing with Spain to demand an end to the imports and looted several Spanish trucks.

The protesters, who burned tyres at the motorway tollbooth in Le Boulou, filtered vehicles entering from Spain singling out trucks carrying tomatoes or wine.

The president of the Aude Winegrowers’ Union, Frédéric Rouanet, announced at another protest in the city of Narbonne that they were going to “stop Spanish imports”, which they accuse of causing the collapse of many farms in the south of France with prices much lower than theirs.

Their complaints are directed in particular against bulk wine that arrives from Spain and which in most cases is bottled in France for on-sale.

Spanish agricultural organisations have demanded that the authorities take measures against the protests.

The COAG organisation demanded “severe sanctions against France” in the face of the “intolerable and repeated” attacks on Spanish agricultural production, and criticised the “complicity of the French Government with the acts of vandalism (that) threatens the free circulation of goods covered by the treaties of the EU”.