Farmers want to mobilize in Berlin this Monday to protest against the planned abolition of tax breaks by the traffic light coalition. A rally is planned at the Brandenburg Gate under the motto “Too much is too much”. Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) is also expected to speak.
The German Farmers' Association is demanding that the government withdraw its plans to abolish regulations on agricultural diesel and vehicle tax exemptions in order to save money in the federal budget. According to the association, numerous tractors will also roll into the capital in protest.
The farmers' association nationwide has also called for the demonstration through its state farmers' associations. Farmers President Joachim Rukwied and other industry representatives want to make their dissatisfaction with the plans clear at the rally. “We farmers will send a first clear signal to the traffic light coalition on Monday,” said Rukwied to the German Press Agency. The proposals for agricultural diesel and vehicle tax would have to be completely withdrawn. "If not, there will be massive resistance from January onwards. We will not put up with that," emphasized the farmers' president.
Reduction of climate-damaging subsidies
According to the association, almost a billion euros would be withdrawn from agriculture. So far, farms have been able to get a partial refund of the energy tax for diesel. In addition, agricultural and forestry vehicles are exempt from vehicle tax.
Özdemir had already made critical comments about the plans, which are based on an agreement between the coalition leaders on savings in the 2024 budget. He warned of a disproportionate burden if both the agricultural diesel subsidy and the vehicle tax exemption were canceled. That would be a competitive disadvantage compared to other countries. The government has justified the plans by reducing climate-damaging subsidies. Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) signaled his willingness to talk. “I am open to alternatives,” he told the Germany editorial network.
According to industry information, the profitability of agriculture had recently improved. In the 2022/23 financial year that ended at the end of June, the average profit of the companies rose to a record level of 115,400 euros - an increase of 45 percent compared to the previous year. In view of falling prices for grain, oilseeds and milk, the farmers' association had already expressed pessimism about further business prospects before the traffic light plans were announced.
There was also a large demonstration with thousands of farmers from all over Germany and a long column of tractors in front of the Brandenburg Gate at the end of 2019. At that time, farmers took part in nationwide campaigns to demand more say in new regulations on environmental and animal protection and more appreciation for their industry.