Tractors Trending: V4 Populists Appropriate the Farmers’ Protests Ahead of the EP Elections

Social media reaction to the farmers' protests aimed at turning followers into voters 

14 March 2024

V4 populist camps have long used social media to shape their image and rhetoric against the EU, but this has taken place without the wider context of European elections. The farmers’ protests mark an important shift, as a topic both diverse and emotionally effective enough to spark online uproar, which can be turned into the foundations of a populist campaign.

Standing amongst passing tractors and reminding farmers of the opportunity presented by the upcoming elections, Viktor Orbán records a video from Brussels with the caption: “We will stand up for the voice of the people! Even if the bureaucrats in Brussels blackmail us.”

Talking about how right the farmers are to protest against the Green Deal, Andrej Babiš ends his video: “It’s five to twelve!” Uploading similar content, others join the chorus: Brussels is an oppressor and a tyrant! Its policies are harmful, short-sighted and ludicrous! The Green Deal, Eastern enlargement and the agricultural policies are detrimental.

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Oszkár Roginer-Hofmeister

Oszkár Roginer-Hofmeister works for the Prague based think-tank EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy. He holds a Phd in Literary Sciences (University of Pécs), a PhD in Southeastern European History (University of Graz), an MA in Cultural Sociology (Univeristy of Zadar), and has a primary education in Hungarian Studies (University of Novi Sad). His main interests lay in media politics, social media, policy and content analysis, structure of media landscapes and press freedoms in Hungary and the Western Balkans.

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