Farmers in Germany Aim for a Breakthrough in Protests
Of all the different protest actions in Germany in 2023, the tractorcades of the farmers in the weeks before Christmas have been the most effective, in particular the pattern of road and highway blockades. The ferment in Germany may very well spread to neighboring countries, both East and West, where the agricultural policy imposed by Brussels threatens the existence of so many independent farms.
The campaign in Germany is mainly driven by the farmers movement called “Countryside Creates Connection” (LSV, Land Schafft Verbindung), which disagrees with the soft approach of the official farmers association. As LSV leader Anthony Lee told independent blogger Marc Friedrich on Dec. 27, the LSV cannot be satified with staging new demonstrations and actions only to get invited to yet another discussion with government officials that leads to nothing. The coming protest wave in mid-January will be more powerful, as cooperation is planned with other social groups to take it beyond strictly agricultural issues. The LSV does not intend to extract just another concession from Berlin, Lee said, they want to force the resignation and replacement of the present government, which is pursuing policies that destroythe country, its energy supply and its entire economy.
The January actions will, of course, address the recent government decision to cancel the state subsidies to farmers for diesel fuel and to eliminate the tax break for farming vehicles (cf. SAS 51-52/23). But they will also attack the European Commission’s decisions to drastically reduce insecticides and pesticides, and demand a revision of its over-ambitious climate protection policies. The LSV plans to achieve a historic breakthrough with the upcoming protests, Lee announced, which is not unrealistic, given the opinion polls published last week, showing support for the government plunging to 17%.
The activities of the LSV could lead to similar protests in other European countries, such as the Netherlands, where the new farmers’ party BBB has now entered both the Senate and the national parliament. In Poland and Slovakia, the mobilization of farmers contributed to election wins for the opposition parties. Voters expect the new governments to refuse the EU Commission’s decree to make Ukrainian agricultural products duty-free, thereby flooding European markets with grain and other items at prices other countries can’t compete with.
As a result of the duty-free regulation, Ukraine became during 2023 the third-largest supplier of grain to the European Union. The agricultural policy will definitely be an important issue in the election campaign for a new European Parliament in June. In addition, there is growing opposition to the continuation of sanctions on Russia, that have caused more damage to the EU economies than to Russia.