German farmers welcome controversial billion-euro state aid

The German Farmers’ Association said a decision by the coalition government to allocate 1 billion euros in state aid to the agricultural industry shows that they are valued, but called for legislative changes to help farming in Germany.

The leaders of Germany’s governing parties have agreed to distribute the funding over four years in order to support farmers as their industry adopts more environmentally friendly practices.

This comes after numerous protests by German farmers, during which long convoys of tractors have blocked roads in major cities, against regulations.

“The decisions taken by the coalition committee are a strong signal that us farmers are valued,” association president Joachim Rukwied said on Thursday.

“But money alone does not solve the challenges,” he added, calling on the government to rethink the environmental regulations, which include manure restrictions to keep ground water clean and efforts to protect insect populations from pesticides.

The German branch of Greenpeace was critical of the state aid.

“Now taxpayers are to cough up for decades of failed agricultural policy,” Greenpeace’s Stephanie Toewe said in a statement.

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