(UnitedVoice.com) – Germany has been dealing with a budget crisis for months. The country has a budget hole of billions of euros, and the government is struggling to find a way to cut funding to fix the crisis. Some of the proposed cuts have angered farmers.
On Monday, January 8, farmers blocked access roads in areas in Germany. More than 500 trucks and tractors were parked by Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. There were also reports of tractors blocking the road in North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, and Saxony. The farmers are angry over the government’s plan to get rid of tax breaks on diesel they use for agricultural work.
The government said the tax cuts would be staggered across three years, in an attempt to lessen the blow. However, the German Farmers’ Association is demanding lawmakers completely scrap the plan. On January 4, angry workers prevented Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck from getting off of a ferry after a personal trip to an island.
Despite the German Farmers’ Association’s opposition to what happened between protesters and Habeck, the organization promised the farmers would begin a “week of action” that started on Monday. They didn’t go back on their word. The blockades created a mess across the country. Production at a Volkswagen plant in Emden had to stop because farmers were blocking the access roads and preventing workers from getting to the plant.
The government warned far-right groups could use the protests to promote their own causes. The Associated Press reported Joachim Rukwied, the chairman of the farmers association, said the organization would ensure it wasn’t infiltrated by the groups. He also said the government’s plan to stagger the cuts was “absolutely insufficient,” saying farmers couldn’t “carry [the] additional tax burden.”
The government cuts came after the country’s Supreme Court ruled its budget was illegal in November. Since then, lawmakers have been looking for ways to fix the problem and close a gap of more than $17 billion euros.
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