As part of a budget compromise, the German government has made economic decisions that have incensed German farmers.
They have assembled in Berlin to oppose the directives, which will significantly impact the farm owners’ bottom line.
Reducing climate-damaging subsidies and marginally cutting the expenditure of several ministries were among the steps agreed upon by the government coalition, headed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, to close a 17 billion euro ($18.5 billion) gap in next year’s budget. This was essential after the annulment of a previous ruling by Germany’s highest court to redirect 60 billion euros from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact mitigation funds to climate change and modernization initiatives. This move directly opposed Germany’s stringent debt-building limits that the country had set for itself.
Some are unhappy with the deal’s proposed changes, ones that seemingly fulfill the wishes of environmentalists who care little that the food delivered to their table is due to the hard work and toil of people who wish to make a living.
One idea is to phase out the use of diesel fuel by disincentivizing its use when there is no other alternative.
Minister Cem Özdemir, responsible for agriculture, has also voiced his disapproval, stating that diesel is the only option available to farmers. On Monday, a procession of farmers accompanied by tractors entered the capital city to demonstrate at the Brandenburg Gate.
To save the environment, the government intends to do away with tax breaks and subsidies that farmers now enjoy. The proposals eliminate tax advantages for farmers’ diesel consumption and the exemption of farmed vehicles from vehicle taxes. The governing coalition announced the budget cutbacks last week, consisting of the Social Democrats (SPD), Free Democrats (FDP), and the Greens. A rift in the coalition’s consensus was revealed on Sunday when the pro-business FDP said it would reject the proposals to eliminate tax incentives.
Robert Habeck, a member of Özdemir’s Green party and Vice-Chancellor, cautioned against dissecting last week’s budget agreement and said that whoever wants to undo the anticipated cutbacks must provide a financially feasible solution that satisfies everyone.