Last week, farmers from all over Germany paralyzed traffic in Berlin's government district with tractor protests. German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has welcomed industry representatives from around 40 agricultural organizations to the Agricultural Summit. Merkel promised that the industry should be included in further specifications for nature and climate protection. She also emphasized that agriculture is "a very important part of society".
It would be necessary to find new answers in many areas. Among those present were various agricultural associations, including representatives of both conventional and organic agriculture, as well as beekeeping and rural women's associations, as well as the initiative "Land Creates Union", which mobilized the Trekker demonstration and demonstrated against the agricultural package. Among other things, it is planned to severely restrict the use of weed killers and pesticides. In addition, the fertilizer rules will be tightened for groundwater protection. These measures are criticized by many farmers. However, the plans to ensure that the subsidies that are so important to many agricultural businesses are no longer paid for by land, but rather to finance environmental projects, are causing a great deal of annoyance. Many farmers see this as a threat to the survival of their company.
Merkel announced that the New Year will be followed by a major dialogue on societal expectations of farmers. A topic should also be the controversial cheap food offers. Nevertheless, the Federal Chancellor was hard on the adopted environmental protection measures. She referred to the species extinction. Here farmers are "not the only polluters", but of course part of the overall system. Also, climate protection called Merkel as a "common concern". However, farmers are also an economic activity which must operate profitably. Both must be brought together, however. "We want to have regional produce and agriculture at home, which means you have to have a future," argued the Chancellor.
Another agricultural summit in autumn 2020
Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) said that agriculture should be brought back into the center of society. After the summit, she announced several forums, which should start in the new year: A meeting with the trade, where it should go above all to the prices of meat and sausage products but also the milk prices in the supermarket, also it is a dialogue forum with Consumers and environmentalists give. In addition, the ministers of culture should be made aware of the fact that they do not want to convey too romantic a picture of agriculture in schools.
After the three-hour conversation, the reactions of the participants differed. While farmer president Joachim Rukwie spoke of a "good start" and demanded to re-discuss the insect repellent action program, others criticized it. Milk farmer Ursula Trede, whom Merkel addressed in a TV election campaign and invited to her farm in Schleswig-Holstein last year, said: "It was much too short on the factories".
Environmental organizations and the co-governing SPD called for a broad dialogue. The Commission for the coalition exit had shown that even with disputed topics interests could be compensated and a constructive compromise is possible, said SPD parliamentary vice Matthias Miersch. This is necessary in agriculture.
Critic also expressed FDP agrarian expert Gero Stool. He called for agricultural policy measures to have economic impact assessments. Green Party leader Anton Hofreiter called for agricultural subsidies to be linked to social benefits for environmental and animal welfare.
The Chancellor, meanwhile, announced another agricultural summit for autumn 2020.