Germany: Farmers block roads with tractors, trucks to protest against agricultural subsidies cut

  • Roads and highway slip roads were blocked at multiple locations nationwide, including several border crossings with France, causing traffic jams during the morning rush hour

Livemint
Updated8 Jan 2024, 08:52 PM IST
Vehicles are parked in front of the Bavarian State Library, as German farmers take part in a protest against the cut of vehicle tax subsidies of the so-called German Ampel coalition government, in Munich, Germany on Monday.
Vehicles are parked in front of the Bavarian State Library, as German farmers take part in a protest against the cut of vehicle tax subsidies of the so-called German Ampel coalition government, in Munich, Germany on Monday.(REUTERS)

Farmers protesting against German government’s plans to cut tax breaks for agriculture on Monday blocked roads with tractors and trucks across the nation.

Convoys of tractors and trucks carrying protest banners reading “No beer without farmers” gathered on roads in sub-zero pre-dawn temperatures.

In Berlin, dozens of tractors and lorries stationed in the city centre blasted their horns to signal their anger at the start of a planned week of action.

Roads and highway slip roads were blocked at multiple locations nationwide, including several border crossings with France, causing traffic jams during the morning rush hour, German Police said. 

Farmers started gathering on Sunday evening at the Brandenburg Gate landmark in the heart of the government quarter in Berlin.

According to farmers, government’s plan to end two tax breaks will drive them out of business. 

The German government was forced to find billions in savings in its 2024 budget after a court ruling in November tore up its previous spending plans.

Farmers claim that the burden of these cuts has been unfairly placed on them.

They have vowed to block major traffic and logistics routes for a week.

After farmers’ protest erupted last week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz-led coalition government made unexpected changes to the budget, including modifying plans to cut subsidies for agriculture.

According to new amendments, the subsidy on agricultural diesel will be cut by 40% this year, by 30% in 2025, and will end from 2026.

A government spokesperson on Monday said that the government is not considering any further changes.

“In the end, a government has to decide and has to lead the way, and that can't always be to everyone's satisfaction,” the spokesperson said. 

In the week ahead Germany is likely to see more protests, as rail workers will also launch a three-day strike on Wednesday, with unions seeking a pay rise to compensate for months of painfully high inflation.

Workers in sectors across Germany, from metallurgy and transport to education, have turned to industrial action in recent weeks. 

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First Published:8 Jan 2024, 08:52 PM IST
HomeNewsworldGermany: Farmers block roads with tractors, trucks to protest against agricultural subsidies cut

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