‘A declaration of war’ – German farmers’ president threatens to launch mass protests the likes of which ‘the country has never experienced before’

Left-liberal government plans to cut farmers’ aid by €900 million

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: John Cody

A rebellion is brewing from Germany’s farmers in response to the government’s surprise decision to end tax breaks for agriculture, with the German Farmers’ Association (BvD) president warning the move amounted to a “declaration of war.” He is now threatening mass protests at a time when the government’s approval rating is at a record low and over two-thirds of Germans say the current government should resign.

“We will not accept this,” BvD President Joachim Rukwied said in Berlin on Monday. He described the government’s actions as “a declaration of war” on farmers. If the federal government did not withdraw the unreasonable proposals “without replacement,” farmers would make sure there was “a very hot January” with further protests planned.

“Then, from Jan. 8, we will be everywhere in a way that the country has never experienced before,” he warned.

Dutch farmer protests against burdensome regulations and plans to seize their farms have been singled out as a contributing factor in the instability of the previous government, which collapsed earlier this year, and the rise of populist parties. Just last month, Geert Wilders’ victory following snap elections in the Netherlands sent shockwaves through the European Union.

Germany’s farmers were blindsided by the news during Advent that tax breaks were ending for agriculture, but a mass protest ensued, as farmers often complain that they are being made a target of a green agenda. The government believes it can save up to €900 million a year by ending the tax breaks, even as it plans to funnel €36 billion towards migrants in the same year.

This is the agreement reached by Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) on the 2024 federal budget.

Protest in Berlin could go nationwide

In response to the new financial burdens on farmers, 3,000 people, including hundreds of farmers, attended the protest on Monday, many of them rolling into the demonstration near the Brandenburg Gate on tractors.

When Green Agricultural Minister Cem Özdemir attempted to speak at the farmers’ rally this Monday, his speech was interrupted at several points, with the crowd chanting, “Traffic lights out,” in reference to the ruling “traffic light” government to which Özdemir belongs.

“I don’t think much of the cuts on this scale,” said Özdemir, who argued the cuts will likely be reduced at the end of negotiations.

The farmers’ association is now calling for nationwide demonstrations via regional farmers’ associations.

The new government rule would end a partial refund of the energy tax on diesel and exemptions for the vehicle tax that agricultural and forestry vehicles enjoy.

Özdemir has spoken out against the plan to scrap the tax breaks for farmers, but the government he belongs to is moving ahead with it. He spoke on German state media outlet ARD, stating that the “pain threshold” for farmers has been “exceeded in my opinion” by ending the tax break.

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