Berlin (AP) - In view of protests from farmers in Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) meets with representatives of about 40 agricultural associations and organizations. At the meeting in the Chancellery, planned new regulations for the protection of insects and groundwater will be discussed.
Farmers demand more participation and warn against high economic burdens. Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner (CDU), who is attending the meeting, had promised the industry to participate in further environmental protection regulations.
Green parliamentary leader Anton Hofreiter demanded that the billions of subsidies for agriculture would have to be redistributed. "For many farmers it has long been about their existence," said Hofreiter the German Press Agency. Many would have to give up because they would not be reasonably paid for their products and put under massive pressure from grocery chains. "We demand that the billions of public funds are continuously tied to social benefits," said Hofreiter. "Instead of industrial large farms farmers should be promoted, who are committed to nature, environmental, climate and animal welfare."
The goal must be an agricultural policy that works with nature. "Only if the federal government relies on class instead of mass, the farmers will have a future." In addition, effective measures against groundwater pollution and species extinction would have to be undertaken, all of which would cost dearly. "The problems do not disappear by ignoring them," said Hofreiter. "Here, the federal government must deliver at the agricultural summit."
In the past week, thousands of farmers demonstrating against the government's agricultural policy in Berlin had called for more social appreciation. There have been protests in several cities before. Above all, an "agricultural package", which the Cabinet had launched in September, caused trouble. Among other things, for the protection of insects, the use of weed and pest poisons should be severely limited. For better groundwater protection, fertilizer regulations also need to be tightened again under pressure from the EU. The important EU agricultural payments to the farms will mean that more money will be spent on environmental measures in the new year.
Merkel had made it clear that it was about a strong agriculture. The farmers would also have to find answers to new times. "And if we do not comply with the Fertilizer Ordinance for years, then I can not say now: Oh people, now there are three more years, it will not work," she said recently in the Bundestag. Klöckner told dpa before the "agricultural summit": "We want to involve the industry and develop solutions together, so that agriculture in Germany has a future."
Peasant President Joachim Rukwied welcomed that the Chancellor invites to a round table. "But that can only be a prelude." Specifically, it is also about rebuilding the "Insect Protection Action Plan". "It would be good if the Chancellor made the issue a top priority." Rukwied emphasized that the farmers were open to new environmental measures. It is not about the if, but only about the how. "We want to bring nature conservation together, not just bans as a basis."