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German farmers block major highways to protest diesel subsidy cuts

Demonstrations will extend throughout the week and starting Wednesday could coincide with a strike by train drivers.

Los granjeros alemanes cortan las principales vías en protesta.


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German farmers have blocked the country's main highways with their tractors since early in the morning in protest against the German government's decision to eliminate tax exemptions on diesel used in agriculture. With signs that read "no farmers no food no future", the farmers began their announced week of protests over the measures being studied by the Social Democrat's Coalition Executive Olaf Scholz to try to clean up the European giant's accounts.

The German government needs to cut $18.6 billion

In addition to the highways, farmershave blocked secondary roads and smaller roads with their tractors, causing significant delays and traffic for those trying to get to work or take their children to school. In some areas, such as the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, they have been joined by transport companies calling for the withdrawal of price increases to truck tolls.

The three-party coalition that forms the German government announced in December that it was preparing a series of measures to cut $18.6 billion in the 2024 budget, trying to balance the country's accounts. The measures included the removal of a tax exemption for agricultural vehicles and diesel used in the countryside.

Demonstrations of transporters, machinists and doctors this week

Faced with the announcement of widespread demonstrations, the German executive tried to calm things down by lowering the proposal. Specifically, it announced that it will maintain the registration tax exemption and that diesel aid would be withdrawn in stages over 3 years: 40% this year, 30% in 2025 and will end from 2026. Something that was not accepted by the German Farmers Association, which stressed that the plans must be completely canceled and confirmed the "week of action" that began on Monday.

To make things more complicated, starting Wednesday train drivers are calling for an indefinite strike by the GDL union. In this case, the reason for the strike is the escalation of the salary conflict with the railway operator Deutsche Bahn (DBN.UL), which is demanded to work 35 hours per week compared to the current 38, as well as an increase of 607.36 dollars per month and the payment of a one-time bonus of $3,282.94 to compensate for inflation. Doctors could also stop on the 9th, even the operating rooms, to protest the overload of work and demand state support.