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Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) during the farmers' protests: "I can well imagine smoothing that over."

Photo: Monika Skolimowska / dpa

After the farmers' protests against the dismantling of diesel subsidies, Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner appeared open to relief in other areas.

“The discussion revolves very much around the demand to reverse the decision on agricultural diesel,” said the FDP leader to the specialist magazine “top agrar”.

Lindner once again offered the farmers' association suggestions on how to improve the productivity and profitability of the farms overall.

He also reiterated the offer of tax relief if companies make high profits one year and not the next because of the weather, for example.

“As a result, farmers pay high taxes in good years, and they also rise in percentage terms in the progression curve,” said Lindner.

“I can well imagine smoothing that out.” A mechanism for this that expired in 2022 could be reintroduced.

He is also examining a tax-free risk compensation reserve in the ministry, said Lindner.

The traffic light coalition had already weakened the savings plans for agriculture for the 2024 budget.

The tax breaks for agricultural diesel should therefore not end all at once, but should be phased out gradually.

There were nationwide protests by farmers against this.

Lindner objected to possibly extending the expiry of the diesel benefit - from the government's point of view, a transition period of three years would be sufficient.

(Read here: How fair prices can become a reality for farmers.)

Lindner is skeptical about animal welfare donations

The finance minister expressed reservations about the newly sparked debate,

to finance the conversion of animal husbandry through an animal welfare tax.

This is what a commission of experts suggested.

Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens), among others, previously campaigned for the “animal welfare cent”.

Lindner, on the other hand, said it was important to clarify whether this was possible under European law: “Before you decide, there has to be a model.

I don't know of any yet." If an animal welfare tax were introduced, the income from it could possibly not only be used in Germany, but would also have to go abroad if production was carried out there under the same conditions.

The FDP is open to a levy borne by market participants for the stable conversion, as formulated in the coalition agreement, said Lindner - but emphasized: "We do not want to contribute to everyday life becoming more and more expensive for citizens." In addition An animal welfare tax is “certainly not the only solution for the agricultural sector, because not all farmers are animal owners.”

The politician was recently at a large demonstration by farmers in Berlin

been booed.

Recent polls show that many farmers are turning away from the Liberals.

“I understand protest,” said Lindner “top agrar”.

He wants to bring the farmers back to the FDP by “making an offer that we are convinced of.”