Tractor-wielding German farmers obstruct Berlin in protest of subsidies

Tractor-wielding German farmers obstruct Berlin in protest of subsidies

2 minutes, 24 seconds Read

Tractor-wielding German farmers obstruct Berlin in protest of subsidies

Farmers in Germany. Image: GETTY IMAGES

Tractor-wielding German farmers obstruct Berlin in protest of subsidies.

With more than 500 tractors and trucks parked up beside Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, farmers in Germany are blocking roadways in protest at the reduction of subsidies.

Blockages have also reportedly been recorded in Bavaria, Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Baden-Württemberg.

The government’s 2024 budget was declared unlawful by a court, which prompted the subsidy reductions intended to address the fiscal crisis.

The cuts, however, have backfired, and there are worries that the controversy that followed will increase the appeal of the far right.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser responded to the blockades by warning that preventing people from travelling to their jobs, schools, or doctors’ appointments “will cause anger and disagreement.”

However, farmers are furious, and the DBV, their association, has demanded that the government abandon any plans to reduce farmer subsidies.

“If not, there is a risk to the availability of high-quality food products,” DBV CEO Joachim Rukwied stated in a radio interview.

Ministers have been working feverishly to patch a tens of billions of euro financial hole following a stunning verdict by Germany’s constitutional court in November, which ruled that the government’s budget was unlawful.

Subsequent plans to eliminate farmers’ tax benefits on agricultural diesel, however, have already been softened, and the modification will now be implemented gradually. Additionally, the administration abandoned plans to do away with the auto tax’s special treatment.

However, this hasn’t calmed farmers’ ire, and last week, in tense scenes, some demonstrators even stopped Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck from getting off a ship.

Tractor-wielding German farmers obstruct Berlin in protest of subsidies

Farmers are on strike across the country. Image: EPA


Widespread criticism was directed against the event, which also raised new concerns about the radicalization of German political discourse.

However, Alice Weidel, a co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, claimed that the incident demonstrated the vice chancellor’s “lack of respect.”

“And instead of seeking dialogue, he’d rather flee on a ferry,” she stated.

In polls, the AfD has been rising to all-time highs and often outperforming the three ruling parties.

The Social Democrats, Greens, and Free Democrats who form Germany’s ruling traffic light coalition are known for their internal strife and rarely concealed conflicts.

Important regional elections in three eastern states, Saxony, Brandenburg, and Thuringia, later this year, will put the nation’s mood to the test, at least in part.

Later this week, planned strikes by train drivers will put additional strain on the coalition.

The GDL union in Germany announced on Sunday that it would start calling on members to walk out on Wednesday in protest of Deutsche Bahn, the country’s rail operator, over pay.

It is an unlucky start to the year for Chancellor Scholz’s administration as the tractors arrive in central Berlin, coinciding with forecasts of sluggish economic development for a nation that is sometimes referred to as the “powerhouse” of the EU.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *