BAgriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir (Green Party) warned of “conditions like those in the United States” if people in rural areas “control the wheels” in a politics increasingly dominated by city dwellers. He told the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper on Wednesday. The goal should be to keep the country together in the middle and prevent people from “accusing each other of all the evil in the world” and stopping talking to each other. In light of the farmers' protests, there must be a fundamental debate on the role of agriculture. At a rally in Elwangen in the state of Baden-Württemberg, he also said, according to the German news agency, that he did not agree with the planned subsidy cuts for farmers. If he had been included as a competent minister, “decisions would not have been made in this way.”
In Ellwangen, Özdemir on Wednesday confronted protesting farmers who were demonstrating against the scheduled reduction in tax benefits for agricultural diesel as part of a week of protest called by the Farmers' Association. Meanwhile, the protests caused further traffic disruptions across the country. Farmers' Association president Joachim Rokoed appeared satisfied with the progress of the protests so far in the ZDF morning magazine. The farmers “received a lot of support from the population.”
Polls by Forsa and Yougov support this. In both polls, more than 70 percent of those surveyed expressed their understanding of the farmers' protests. Data were collected on the first two days (Forsa) and three days (Yougov) of the campaign week that began on Monday.
4000 tractors in Dresden
Rockweed said the federal government is able to end the demonstrations “by getting really close to us.” But the government's policy comes “from the Berlin bubble, and is often advised by people who have never worked before, and who have sweated it out.” “If the demands are not addressed in the large demonstration announced on Monday in Berlin, we reserve the right to take further steps,” Rockweed said.
Due to the blockade, farmers brought the container terminal in Bremerhaven to a standstill on Wednesday, among other things. This was announced by the operator Bremenports. Due to the train drivers union strike, rail traffic was also restricted. Ships were unable to leave or enter the port.
According to the state farmers' union, about 4,000 tractors from surrounding areas participated in a protest march in Dresden. According to the German News Agency (DPA), more than 70 highway entrances were temporarily closed in Brandenburg. Farmer protests were also reported in Mainz, Augsburg, Flensburg and Schwerin. Protest flights were announced on Thursday to Cottbus, Hamburg, Hanover and Frankfurt am Main, among other cities.
The Farmers' Association views the new reform committee with suspicion
The Thuringia Farmers' Association reacted skeptically to the proposal by North Rhine-Westphalia Premier Hendrik Fust (CDU) to form a committee similar to the Coal Commission in light of the ongoing protests. “There was a Borchert committee, for example, and it stopped working even though it did a good job,” Katja Forster, press officer for the Thuringia Farmers' Association, said on Wednesday. It is therefore questionable how effective another committee would be. The Borchert Commission, led by former Federal Minister of Agriculture Jochen Borchert (CDU), worked with representatives from agriculture, environmental associations and other interest groups to develop proposals for livestock reform. She finished her job last summer.
The Federal Council of Ministers decided, at the beginning of the week, to reduce agricultural diesel consumption for the current year by only 60 percent from the previous 21.48 cents per liter. The tax exemption will then gradually decrease over the next two years. This should save around 440 million euros annually from 2027.
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