PARIS (Reuters) – France wants a decision this week to change European Union environmental regulations regarding agricultural surfaces which have to remain fallow under new biodiversity rules, in order to help the country’s farmers, its farming minister said on Monday.

The French government is battling to try and contain nationwide protests from farmers, who are demanding better pay and living conditions, with many set to converge on Paris on Monday.

Belgian farmers also began a protest on Monday, with many farmers across Europe complaining that the European Union is not doing enough to help them in the face of international competition and globalisation.

“In the coming 48 hours, there will be certain measures we will put on the table,” French Farming Minister Fesneau told France 2 TV.

Fesneau said one area of contention which France would look to change in order to help the country’s farmers was a European Union nature law passed last year.

Last year, the European Parliament voted to pass a fiercely contested law to restore degraded natural ecosystems.

The legislation will require countries to introduce measures restoring nature on a fifth of their land and sea by 2030. The aim is to reverse the decline of Europe’s natural habitats – 81% of which are classed as being in poor health.

However, many farmers have complained this could impact their businesses.

(This story has been refiled to remove redundant words ‘on Wednesday’ from paragraph 6)

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel and Geert de Clercq; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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