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FDP and Özdemir ministry blame each other for agricultural cuts

There is a fierce dispute in the traffic light coalition over responsibility for the planned abolition of the agricultural diesel subsidy. The FDP accused Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) of having proposed this himself - the Ministry of Agriculture denied this and stated that the...

Tractor between rapeseed fields in Bavaria in
Tractor between rapeseed fields in Bavaria in

FDP and Özdemir ministry blame each other for agricultural cuts

Gero Hocker, food policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, told the "Bild" newspaper on Friday that the abolition of subsidies for agricultural diesel and the end of the motor vehicle tax exemption for agricultural and forestry vehicles "would be a hard double blow for agriculture". However, it is not without a certain irony that the Minister of Agriculture is now shedding crocodile tears over a result that he himself had called for. "The Green proposal was put forward by Cem Özdemir, assessed as expedient by Robert Habeck and only found its way into the relief budget in this way."

The Ministry of Agriculture denied the accusation. A spokesperson told the "Bild" newspaper that the Ministry of Food had "at no time put forward such a proposal". Instead, as part of the internal budget preparation in the middle of the year, the Ministry of Finance had raised the issue of agricultural diesel subsidies for the first time in order to compensate for savings targets for future budgets from 2025. The Ministry of Agriculture then promised the Ministry of Finance that it would "consider revising (not abolishing!) the agricultural diesel subsidy" if these freed-up funds continued to benefit the transformation tasks of agriculture. However, this approach was not pursued due to the excessive burden on agriculture.

Following the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court, Federal Minister Özdemir had "expressly warned against abolishing the agricultural diesel subsidy and withdrawing these funds from agriculture during internal consultations", the "Bild" newspaper further quoted the ministry spokesperson as saying. After the budget agreement, the minister had criticized that he considered the removal of the subsidies to be "problematic".

According to information from the Federal Ministry of Finance, the abolition of the vehicle tax concession for forestry and agriculture is expected to generate 480 million euros a year. There was initially no further information on the savings potential of the abolition of tax concessions for agricultural diesel.

CDU leader Merz told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers on Friday that the "traffic light" government had "completely lost sight of our farmers in particular". The abolition of the tax rebate for agricultural diesel was "a punch in the gut for the rural economy".

In the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper, the Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs and leader of the Free Voters, Hubert Aiwanger, called the removal of subsidies a "slap in the face of farmers". Anyone who classifies the production of food as climate-damaging work is "a danger to this country".

Farmers' president Joachim Rukwied has already announced protests. "The proposals of the Ampel coalition have thrown the entire agricultural sector into turmoil," he told the Rheinische Post newspaper on Thursday. Rukwied called for the plans to be withdrawn.

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