Fact Check: Ursula Von Der Leyen Did Not Say Farmers Across Europe Are On Strike Due To Putin, Climate Change

Fact Check

  • de: Jurnaliștii Lead Stories
Fact Check: Ursula Von Der Leyen Did Not Say Farmers Across Europe Are On Strike Due To Putin, Climate Change No Such Note

Did European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen say that the current farmers' strikes are caused by Russian President Vladimir Putin and climate change? No, that's not true: While von der Leyen did say that "farmers are the first in line to feel the effects of climate change," she did not mention Putin by name.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by @pichaku.picaku (archived here) on February 6, 2024. The caption (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff) read:

Ursula von der Leyen: 'Farmers from all across Europe are on strike because of Putin and because of climate change.'

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-02-08 at 22.50.23.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Feb 8 19:06:57 2024 UTC)

On February 6, 2024, von der Leyen, gave a speech (archived here) at the plenary session of the European Parliament (archived here) in Strasbourg, France, on the conclusions of the European Council meetings, in particular the extraordinary Council meeting on February 1, 2024.

Von der Leyen commented on the recent protests by farmers (archived here) against national cuts and European policies that broke out in Germany (archived here) and France (archived here) in January 2024 and then spread across Europe. Among the various reasons for the protests were national environmental measures, a European agricultural policy that is seen as too environmentally friendly and insensitive to the needs of workers, and the increasing costs of production.

The transcript of this part of von der Leyen's speech (archived here), reported by the user in the German version, with Romanian captions, is as follows (as translated):

While the European Council was in session, farmers from across Europe were taking to the streets. Many of them feel pushed into a corner. Farmers are the first in line to feel the effects of climate change. Droughts and floods have destroyed their harvests and threatened livestock. Farmers are feeling the impact of the Russian war. Inflation, the rising cost of energy and fertilizers. Nevertheless, they work hard every day, to produce the quality food we eat. For this, I think we owe them appreciation and thanks and respect.

No reference to Putin was made during the speech, and the sense of the message was taken somewhat out of context.


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