German farmers protest. Scholz appealed to demonstrators not to succumb to extremists

Luc Williams

“Gallows are not arguments, political opponents are not idiots (…) In a democracy, there is no place for calls for violence and personal threats,” said the Chancellor and warned against using farmers’ protests to act against democracy.

“If these legal protests translate into anger and disregard for democratic processes and institutions, we all lose. Only those who despise our democracy will benefit,” Scholz added. “Especially in such troubled times as now, it is important to maintain moderation and balance,” he emphasized.

Referring to the government’s partial withdrawal from the cuts plan, Scholz argued that the cabinet “took farmers’ arguments to heart.”

Diesel of discord

The farmers’ protests, which have been ongoing since Monday (January 8), are directed against cuts in relief for farmers planned by the federal government, including the gradual abolition of the tax relief on diesel oil for agricultural machinery. The government is also ready to abandon the originally announced abolition of the vehicle tax exemption for farmers. The German Farmers’ Association wants the cuts to be completely withdrawn.

On Monday (January 15), the heads of the government parliamentary faction (SPD, Greens and FDP) want to meet in parliament with the leaders of agricultural organizations. “We assume that they are aware of the high importance of the problem and that we will receive serious proposals on this matter,” commented the head of the Farmers’ Association, Joachim Rukwied, for dpa.

“Are all the current protests really only about agricultural diesel oil or subsidy restrictions? I think crises and conflicts create general uncertainty. Many people are worried about the future. All this makes some people express it loudly,” Scholz said on Saturday.

It is worth looking for compromises

He expressed gratitude to the leader of the farmers’ association for “clearly distancing himself from extremists” calling for a “revolution and overthrow of the system.”

As the Chancellor added, part of democracy is not only dispute, but also compromise, and “Germany is currently facing a test.”

“Discontent is being deliberately stoked. With their enormous reach, extremists use social media to denigrate compromise and poison every democratic debate. This is a toxic mixture that is a cause for concern and worries me greatly,” Scholz said.



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