Europe's road and oil refinery blockades mount : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Europe's road and oil refinery blockades mount Wednesday, 13 September 2000 12:39 (ET)

Europe's road and oil refinery blockades mount

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Hundreds of Dutch truck drivers have mounted barricades along major highways as part of the mounting fuel cost protests Wednesday across continental Europe. Dutch Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm rejected fuel tax cuts sought by truckers, triggering new protests in The Netherlands, much as Belgium truckers have maintained their blockade of Brussels and of roadways in Nivelle, Flanders and Liege.

Also in Europe's second busiest harbor, the port of Antwerp, has all its roadways in and out blocked, according to Antwerp Port Authority spokeswoman Ann Wittemans.

She said neither workers nor cargo can leave or enter the port by roadway.

However, ships reportedly can come and go freely. In Germany, transportation officials report new oil depot barricades and roadway blockades at Munich.

Ironically, German's fuel prices are among the lowest, but German truckers, are furious with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's policy of additional fuel "ecology taxes," and have also vowed to "gatecrash" Socialist Schroeder's political meetings.

In Brussels, meanwhile A European Union delegation is meeting foreign ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, to discuss oil price stability.

In France, Prime Minister Lionel Jospin called for all EU transport ministers to coordinate the regulation and taxing of fuel.

"People must understand that these problems are complicated, and have to be solved together," Jospin said.

Also Wednesday, Polish state radio reports angry truckers and fishermen threatened to block the country's oil refineries and ports protesting the same as truckers elsewhere across the continent. The president of the Polish fishermen's organization, Maciej Dlouchy, said in a radio interview aired Wednesday that fuel costs were 40 percent of their trawlers' operating costs.

He added: "The fisherman are so desperate that this might get out of control. That's the danger. The government must react." Poland's Finance Minister Jaroslaw Bauc also has rejected demands to lower fuel taxes. He said the revenue brought in by the taxes was needed to finance the national budget.

In Italy, at least two refineries, including one in Sicily have been blocked, preventing fuel distribution. And in the Irish Republic truck drivers have already voted to stage a two-day protest blockade starting Friday. They demand a 20 percent cut in their fuel tax.

According to French radio RTL truckers in Norway and in Spain are preparing major protests also.

-- Copyright 2000 by United Press International.

-- Martin Thompson (, September 13, 2000


This is beginning to sound contagious. I think it's only a matter of time before this will hit our shores.

-- R2D2 (, September 14, 2000.

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