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19 Jan 2024, 13:19
Sören Amelang

Farmers in Germany threaten more extensive protests starting next week

Tagesspiegel / Focus Online / T-Online

Following weeks of disruptive street blockades, German farmers have threatened to ramp up protests against the planned cuts to agricultural diesel subsidies. The president of the German Farmers' Association (DBV), Joachim Rukwied, called the protests to date "foreshocks," reports newspaper Tagesspiegel. "If nothing changes now, there may be an eruption," Rukwied warned, adding protests would be "more far-reaching" than before and take place all over Germany. Rukwied is set to meet chancellor Olaf Scholz next week Monday (22 January), when the German leader visits the food and agriculture trade fair Grüne Woche in Berlin. T-Online reported that farmers protested at the venue already today. Trucking companies said they are also planning protests against government policies. “We will definitely do something,” said the head of logistics association BGL, Dirk Engelhardt, according to a Focus Online report. The trucking industry says it is being squeezed by higher road tolls and an increase in Germany’s national CO2 price for transport and buildings, while the government planned to cut subsidies for electric trucks. 

Protesting farmers have caused major traffic disruption across Germany over the last couple of weeks in reaction to subsidy cuts by the government which will force agricultural companies to pay more for diesel fuel. Thousands of farming company employees blocked roads and motorways with tractors and other agricultural equipment, demanding that the subsidies are fully reinstated. The cuts were caused by a last-minute budget reshuffling after a court ruling reduced funds for climate and transformation projects by 60 billion euros. Following the protests, the government agreed to roll back some of the enforced measures and delay others. Agricultural vehicle tax breaks will not be slashed, while diesel tax breaks for farmers will be abolished only gradually, starting this year. But the farmers say the concessions don’t go far enough.

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