German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged calm and a willingness to find compromises amid ongoing farmer protests over a plan to reduce fuel subsidies. He cautioned against the influence of extremists exacerbating tensions amid broader discontent in the country.
Farmers in Germany have utilized their tractors to block major roads and cause traffic disruptions as part of a week-long protest against the government’s proposal to scrap tax breaks on diesel used in agriculture. Despite the government’s modifications to the original plan, retaining a car tax exemption for farming vehicles and implementing a three-year phased reduction in diesel tax breaks, the farmers proceeded with their demonstrations.
In a video message, Chancellor Scholz acknowledged the farmers’ concerns, asserting that the government had crafted a “good compromise.” However, farmers persist in their demand for a complete reversal of the subsidy cuts. Scholz stated that officials would engage in discussions to explore additional measures for the future of agriculture.
Emphasizing the importance of compromise in a democratic society, Scholz said, “rage is being stoked deliberately; with a gigantic reach, extremists are decrying every compromise, including on social media, and poisoning every democratic debate.”
“This is a toxic mixture that must concern us, which very much preoccupies me too,” he said
On Thursday, Chancellor Scholz strongly condemned alleged plans by far-right groups to deport millions of immigrants, including those with German citizenship, if these groups were to come to power. The alleged plan, which was published in an article by the investigative journalists’ group Correctiv on Wednesday, reminiscent of Nazi ideology, stirred public outrage.
“We protect everyone — regardless of origin, skin color or how uncomfortable someone is for fanatics with assimilation fantasies,” the chancellor wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Thousands gathered in Germany on Sunday for demonstrations against the far-right, with Chancellor Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock among them. Protests took place in Potsdam and at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, following a demonstration in Duisburg on Saturday.
Scholz and Baerbock, representing the Potsdam area in the German parliament, Baerbock told German news agency dpa that she attended the demonstration there as one of thousands of locals “who stand for democracy and against old and new fascism.”
The far-right Alternative for Germany party has gained strength over the past year and is currently holding second place in national polls, with support over 20%. Germany faces upcoming European Parliament elections in June and three state elections in September, with the far-right party particularly influential in the formerly communist east.
All publishing rights and copyrights reserved to MENA Research Center.