The first tractors arrived in central Berlin on Sunday evening. And as Monday (18 December) came around there were thousands of German farmers taking part in the protests against the agricultural policy of the government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
According to German media, the reason is the abolition of certain schemes with which the government supports the agricultural sector, such as the red diesel and certain exemptions from taxes on certain vehicles.
Tractors were already gathering at the Brandenburg Gate on Sunday evening. The motto of the campaign, organised by the Deutscher Bauernverband, is ‘Too much is too much!’. The wide and long avenue running west from the Brandenburg Gate was closed to normal traffic. The police expected more than 3,000 demonstrators at the start of the day, but not all of them were expected to come with a tractor.
The German government coalition of Scholz’s Social Democrats, the Greens and the Liberals has made significant cuts after chief justices ruled that a separate climate fund of €60 billion had been created illegally. The money should have been handled through normal budget rules and now the government suddenly has a big hole in the budget. That is why cuts were announced last week.
According to the farmers, they are already having a hard enough time under this government and there is no more to be achieved. The meeting Monday could be the start of much more drastic protests, say officials. According to Heiko Terno of the Brandenburg Farmers’ Union, farmers do not want more money themselves, but they want their production to be taxed less. This is also to be able to face the competition from domestic products from abroad. “It has to end at some point,” said Terno.