German farmers want to exchange cheap diesel for lower costs

 The German agricultural farmers' association DBV no longer adheres to the demand for full enforcement of the disputed cheap agricultural diesel, if Berlin compensates farmers in other ways. The protests against the possible abolition of cheap diesel marked the start of extensive protests by German farmers last month.

In recent weeks, the three German coalition factions (SPD, Greens and FDP) have made several concessions to German farmers, such as spreading the abolition over several years instead of in one fell swoop next year. The farmers' union was in favor of 'full enforcement' for a long time, but is now prepared to accept other compensation in exchange. 

With this weakening, the farmers' association agrees with the plea that the sixteen German states submitted to BMEL Minister Cem Özdemir last week. The state governments, from various political parties, want to improve the income position of German farmers by reducing costs and administrative burdens.

“Our companies are overwhelmed by bureaucracy. This effort takes a lot of time and therefore money," criticized association chairman Joachim Rukwied. Several regional farmers' organizations are critical of the abandonment of cheap diesel, but others speak of an opportunity for a breakthrough in the difficult negotiations on the German agricultural budget. 

However, no amounts are being discussed yet. This is necessary because the outcome must be incorporated into the austerity package that the German 'traffic light coalition' must decide on this spring.

Minister Özdemir said that he will submit the proposals of the federal states and the DBV to the agricultural consultation in the Borchert Future Committee on March 22. Among other things, higher food prices or higher taxes must be discussed (again) in order to co-finance the conversion of stables in German livestock farming.

The now announced reduction in the workload and burden in Germany coincides with similar decisions within the EU on relaxing the rules in European agricultural policy. Brussels wants to respond to farmers' protests in many EU countries. This will be discussed on Tuesday in the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, and a week later by the 27 LNV ministers.