In view of the farmers' protests in Germany, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called on the federal government to talk to farmers. In an interview with the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” he also showed understanding for the farmers and their discontent. “In the current situation, I think it is urgently necessary for personal discussions to take place,” said Steinmeier. "Protests are legitimate, but speechlessness between the federal government and the farmers harms everyone involved."
For days, thousands of farmers across Germany have been protesting with tractor blockades against plans by the traffic light coalition to cut subsidies in the agricultural sector - although the federal government has partially withdrawn the plans. The exemption from vehicle tax for agricultural vehicles will remain the same. And the immediate abolition of the tax relief for agricultural diesel, which was initially planned, is now to take place gradually.
Steinmeier advised politicians to leave the capital Berlin more often and go out into the country, as he does when he repeatedly moves his official residence to smaller cities for a few days. He wants to take away the feeling from people there that no one is interested in them. "Sometimes it helps to go and say, we want to hear you. In this respect, I actually think more presence in rural areas is urgently needed."
In addition, reaching for supermarket shelves has alienated people from the food producers. "This may also be a reason that in our country as a whole there is a lack of sufficient appreciation of those who are responsible for producing food and maintaining living conditions in rural areas," said the Federal President.