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Protest in Germany

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January the 17th

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GENERAL INFORMATION

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In Berlin, thousands at the Brandenburg Gate against the plan to remove subsidies on diesel for agricultural vehicles.

Around ten thousand farmers, joined by truckers and hunters, gathered on Monday 15 January in the heart of Berlin to protest the German government's plans to cut diesel tax breaks for agricultural vehicles. The protest has been going on for almost a week and shows no signs of stopping: thousands of tractors are blocking highways and major German cities.

German farmers feel penalized because, for many years now, they have respected environmental regulations and implemented animal welfare measures, factors which, in global competition, put them at a disadvantage, since other countries, with much lower, the costs are significantly lower than theirs.

According to the German Farmers' Association, the end of these subsidies could mean the end of agriculture in the country.

According to Martin Hofstetter, political expert at Greenpeace Germany, "a structural transformation is taking place, in particular an annual decline in agricultural holdings of 2-3 percent". "Currently - he explains - this situation is largely influenced by the incorrect distribution of subsidies from the European Union. If all subsidies were to be cut overnight, many agricultural companies claim that there would be no more prospects. On the other side however, there is a strong commitment from farmers to continue managing their farms and a desire to move forward."

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