Germany: agricultural diesel: what have the farmers’ protests brought so far?

2023-12-21 09:28:11

Germany: agricultural diesel: what have the farmers’ protests brought so far?

Peter Laufmann, AGRARHEUTE*

© Countrypixel

Farmers took to the streets not only in Berlin. Across Germany, they protested against the removal of the agricultural diesel subsidy and the exemption from vehicle tax.

The federal government’s decision to remove subsidies for agricultural diesel is causing incomprehension among farmers. Numerous pro-agricultural diesel protest actions have been launched. Politicians react with caution.

It was a big game yesterday in Berlin: farmers from all over Germany went to the capital to demonstrate their discontent. As a reminder, the federal government decided last week to remove subsidies for agricultural diesel and the exemption from vehicle tax. A package of savings of 900 million that farmers did not want to see under the tree. And that’s how they left: the Farmers’ Union, organizer of the demonstration, indicates that 8,000 to 10,000 people participated in the demonstration and that more than 3,000 tractors were present. According to the police, there were up to 6,600 people with 1,700 tractors at the peak.

Mr Rukwied combative, Mr Özdemir announces his commitment

It was in any case an impressive picture when the tractors took over the street in front of the Brandenburg Gate. During the demonstration, farmers’ president Joachim Rukwied was combative and announced further protests if the decisions were not reversed. Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir also addressed farmers and announced his commitment to agricultural diesel. The atmosphere was stormy, but peaceful.

Farmer protests across Germany

Farmers took to the streets not only in Berlin. Across the country, farmers sat on their machines. Here are some examples: Monday morning [18 décembre 2023], farmers from Schaumburg blocked the A2 motorway in the direction of Hanover. Traffic was stopped for several hours. Nothing worked on Monday in Leipzig and Chemnitz either. 800 farmers protested against the removal of tax advantages. And also on Tuesday morning, farmers blocked two access points to the A72 between Zwickau and Chemnitz.

Not just tractor blockages, manure was also used

The farmers have already made it known to Berlin that they find these plans rubbish and have dumped a pile of them on the rue du 17 June. The same thing happened in Hamelin: unknown persons dumped horse manure in front of the offices of the SPD and the Greens. Heaps were also used in Bavaria and the Hunsrück. And this will not be the last demonstration. Everything now depends on the austerity measures that will ultimately be adopted.

Farmers are also very active on social networks

The subject touches farmers to the heart. The echo in the street and on social networks is therefore very important. Hundreds of people report or comment on Berlin’s plans.

The government and the opposition see themselves on the side of farmers

The government perhaps did not expect such resistance. And even within the parties of the traffic light coalition, opinions are divided. The decision still seems far from being made. For example, Renate Künast, spokesperson for the Greens for agricultural policy, pointed out that the planned abolition of the subsidy for agricultural diesel could still be canceled. For the SPD, Mr. Kevin Kühnert and Ms. Manuela Schwesig, for example, showed understanding and spoke of improvements. The FDP parliamentary group also announced that it would veto austerity plans for farmers. However, we searched in vain for Finance Minister Lindner yesterday in Berlin. The opposition is clearly opposed to the deletion. Mr. Friedrich Merz said: “The traffic lights have completely lost sight of the farmers. »


* Peter Laufmann works as editor of AGRARHEUTE. The editor and author has worked in environmental and science journalism for many years. His interest regularly focuses on the large gap between the use and protection of natural resources.

Source: Agricultural diesel: What have the farmers’ protests achieved so far? |

My note: Finance Minister Lindner must find 17 billion euros in savings for the next budget.

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