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HomeUncategorizedEvaluation of Ulrich Reitz: Chancellor now realizes an untrustworthy promise

Evaluation of Ulrich Reitz: Chancellor now realizes an untrustworthy promise

Robert Habeck revoked the subsidy for electric cars overnight. The Vice Chancellor, the Finance Minister, and the Federal Chancellor eliminate the diesel subsidy for farmers that has existed for 65 years. In response, the Minister of Agriculture protests at a demonstration, where Cem Özdemir is booed.

Apart from the further loss of trust from two relevant societal groups, tens of thousands of car buyers and hundreds of thousands of farmers:

The Federal Chancellor had promised something completely different. Not even three weeks ago, he assured citizens of this in a government statement in the Bundestag regarding the consequences of the Karlsruhe budget ruling: “The ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court does not change anything in your everyday life – here and now.”

It’s about the citizens’ wallets, where many people lose all understanding

It’s a Chancellor’s statement that was proven untrue through Chancellor’s actions. And it will further widen the gap between the government and the population, because it’s about the citizens’ wallets, where many people lose all understanding. The demonstration of farmers in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate is likely just the overture in this sense. In front of the Victory Column, called “Golden Lizzy” by Berliners, a trailer was once dumped with cow dung.

“Stop, stop,” a chorus of a few thousand farmers called out to Cem Özdemir. The President of the Farmers’ Association, Joachim Rukwied – a member of the CDU – paid tribute to Özdemir for his appearance at the Berlin demonstration. But despite being one of the best speakers in the government, the Green Party member was unable to connect with the participants.

The first boos were heard when Özdemir praised himself, shouting back at his critics: “I can take it, I used to be a handball goalkeeper,” and shortly after, “I won’t back down, I stand my ground.” It is simply better for one’s own audacity to be praised by others.

Özdemir’s credibility had already suffered before the demonstration

Özdemir’s credibility had already suffered before the demonstration. After publicly distancing himself from the agricultural diesel privilege, two things circulated on social media: a letter from his state secretary and a decision by the Green Party faction from 2015. Özdemir’s state secretary, Silvia Bender, offered “proposals for revising the diesel aid” in a letter to the then Finance State Secretary Hans Werner Gatzer.

What the farmers understood as Özdemir’s attempt to shirk responsibility. And eight years ago, the Green Party faction in the Bundestag had already requested the abolition of diesel aid for farmers. The Green Party leader at that time: Cem Özdemir.

The green minister had no chance with the farmers due to a lack of proportionality, as “one percent of the working population should bear ten percent of the federal budget deficit,” complain the farmers from North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.

Indeed, around 600,000 people work in agriculture, and the Karlsruhe ruling tears a 60 billion-euro hole in the federal budget. Due to this glaring asymmetry, the SME spokesperson of the Union, Gitta Connemann, lamented that the federal government was imposing a “special sacrifice” on the farmers.

Aiwanger responds: “Every good-for-nothing is better supported than our farmers”

Hubert Aiwanger was not so delicate. Bavaria’s Deputy Minister President, also the Minister of Agriculture, was not so delicate. He said: “Every good-for-nothing is better supported than our farmers.”In his home state of Bavaria, alongside many Free Voters, he arrived at the Brandenburg Gate early in the morning from where he spread his tough message: “Every layabout is better supported by the traffic light coalition than our farmers.”

Using the term “layabout,” Aiwanger has been referring to able-bodied recipients of citizen’s income, half of whom are not from Germany. Aiwanger is not only a minister in Bavaria but also the Federal Chairman of the Free Voters – whom he aims to lead into the Berlin Parliament in the next federal election, with the support of the farmers.

The federal government justifies the abolition of diesel subsidies – saving the federal government one billion euros – by claiming the need to save. In response, the farmers highlight the reasoning behind the diesel reduction: “Vehicle tax and fuel tax are levied to build and maintain roads. As agricultural vehicles consume more than 90 percent of the fuel in the forest, on arable land, grassland, or farmyards, a portion of the fuel tax was previously refunded from the purchase price and no vehicle tax was levied.”

Why Friedrich Merz gets involved in the farmers’ dispute

Cem Özdemir stated at the demonstration that he had “warned in the cabinet” against the austerity decision. But why couldn’t he prevail among his ministerial colleagues? Perhaps a look at the voting behavior of farmers in the recent federal election may help. According to a survey by the Forschungsgruppe Wahlen, they only voted for traffic light parties 31 percent of the time, with the Greens trailing far behind at five percent.

In the past, it was often mockingly said that farmers in the left-wing spectrum always voted for the Union. This is no longer true. According to the pollsters, 45 percent, not 60 percent as in 2017, now cast their vote for the CDU and CSU. This, in turn, explains why the opposition leader personally intervened in the farmers’ dispute. Friedrich Merz stated: “With the abolition of agricultural diesel and the additional increase in the CO2 price, the traffic light coalition is destroying our agriculture. The Union will do everything to reverse the government’s decision.”

Initially hesitant, but then more loudly, the crowd called for new elections.

The Union can’t do much – unless the FDP carries out its threat and does not align with the traffic light coalition, but with the Union in the Bundestag for the abolition of the diesel subsidy. The party that enjoys the greatest support among farmers in the traffic light coalition is the FDP. So, they have the most to lose.

In any case, Özdemir, the minister, promised not to promise anything – as he himself admitted, he couldn’t even prevail in the federal cabinet. And so, the Green stated very cautiously: He doesn’t support cuts “to this extent.” He is fighting to prevent this from happening “in such severity.” In conclusion, Özdemir told the farmers: But I can’t do anything for you.

Farmers’ President Joachim Rukwied had called on Özdemir to make his promised commitment to the concerns of the farmers more credible with his threat of resignation. Özdemir did not comment on this, however.

Initially hesitant, but then louder, the crowd called for new elections.

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