German government announces partial backtrack in response to farmer protests
The German government’s retreat shows the farmer protests are working.

Mike Campbell

January 4, 2024

In light of the German farmer protests that have raged for weeks, their government has partially backtracked from their plan to cut diesel subsidies and tax breaks for agricultural vehicles — but farmers say it’s still not enough. 

German government announces partial backtrack in response to farmer protests

In an effort to appease the farmers, the government backed off their abrupt December decision to fully phase out diesel subsidies, instead announcing the cuts would take place incrementally over three years. 

A government statement read that a 40% cut to subsidies would take place in 2024, followed by 30% cuts in 2025 and 2026 to give farmers “more time to adapt.”

Moreover, the government retreated on their plan to scrap discounts on vehicle tax for agricultural machinery.

However, the German Farmers’ Association responded to the offering, with its chairman Joachim Rukwied saying “This can only be a first step.” 

“Our position is unchanged: Both proposed cuts must be taken off the table,” Rukwied added.

German farmers have continued their December protests with a January uprising that matches the massive tractor convoys seen in other European countries over the past two years. 

Hundreds of tractors lined highways on Tuesday in protest of the left-wing coalition government’s recent announcement that they were fully cutting diesel subsidies and tax breaks for agricultural vehicles.

Germany’s coalition government, made up of the Social Democrats (SPD), Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens, made the announcement in mid-December as part of their austerity measures to help fill an $18.5 billion hole in their 2024 budget.

Farmers had held protests in Berlin since mid-December, clogging up highways with their tractors, and calling for a massive protest on January 8.

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