It’s a real epidemic: from one village to another, the name of the town is displayed upside down. Rural people will have observed the anomaly since November in certain French departments; city dwellers who come to spend the holidays in the countryside discover it. Which prankster had fun unbolting the signage to put it back together in the other direction?
Information taken, the phenomenon is not a joke. It’s even a distress call. That of farmers and breeders who wish to alert – peacefully and without negative consequences for their fellow citizens – about the reality of their activity. “We are walking on our heads!”, they say. Pressed by contradictory standards, countless taxes and fairly complex regulations – the fruit of the new common agricultural policy (CAP) in force since the beginning of 2023 – they have the feeling of no longer getting by. How can they make their production competitive, when they are crushed by the multiplication of environmental directives? Not to mention the official discourse, which promotes local production, and is directly contradicted by the measures taken at national and European level to encourage the sale of imported products.
The trigger for this epidemic of returned panels? The signing of the economic free trade agreement between the European Union and New Zealand on November 22. This agreement removes tariffs from goods entering New Zealand and reduces them significantly in the other direction. A privileged commercial highway between two areas… located nearly 20,000 km away! Enough to feel like you’re walking on your head, in fact: goods from the antipodes have priority on the market and do not respect the environmental criteria that are imposed on French farmers, if only because of the carbon footprint produced by their transport.
One month before the Agricultural Show, will the billboard revolution be enough to lead to a consideration of peasant suffering and to rediscover a policy of common sense?