Thousands of German farmers have followed through with their planned January 8th mass protest over their government’s climate-related cuts to subsidies that could put many out of business.
The “week of action” is planned by German farmers after Germany’s left-wing coalition government, made up of the Social Democrats, Free Democrats and the Greens, announced in mid-December they would be cutting diesel subsidies and tax breaks for agricultural vehicles.
Throughout major cities in the country, farmers have blocked roads and highways while marching with signs that read “no farmer, no food, no future” as well as “when farmers are ruined, food has to be imported.”
The protests are so large that the mainstream media has finally started to report on them after weeks of silence.
Last week, in response to the farmer protests, the government partially backtracked from their plan, scrapping their plan to end discounts on vehicle tax for agricultural machinery, and stating that the diesel subsidies would be cut incrementally over three years rather than all at once.
But farmers said it still wasn’t enough. The German Farmers’ Association responded to the partial retreat, 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.
Farmers had held protests in Berlin since mid-December 2023, clogging up highways with their tractors, and calling for a massive protest on January 8.
The government’s December cuts were part of their austerity measures to help fill an $18.5 billion hole in their 2024 budget.In 2022, the German farmers went all out to support Dutch farmers who were also protesting climate-related policies that priced them out of owning their land.