Farmers' protests: And then Özdemir defends his worst critic | EUROtoday

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FThere have been few nice appointments for Cem Özdemir up to now few weeks. The Green politician is hit by the total power of the farmers' protests. His celebration even needed to cancel its political Ash Wednesday in Biberach in February due to violent blockers. The night within the Berlin Humboldt Forum promised to be way more nice in a small group.

The journalists' affiliation PEN Berlin had discovered authors who, along with their literary lives in varied European metropolises, additionally apply agriculture kind of intensively, as simple dialog companions as regards to the farmers' protest: all three of them natural, important of subsidies and on the most faraway from any indignant farmers. One of probably the most profitable books by invited writer Karen Duve even features a plea for a meat-free food regimen.

She herself struggles along with her neighbors, as she stated on the rostrum. “In my village, 'green' is a dirty word for almost everything,” complained Duve, who has been residing in Märkische Schweiz for a number of years. “Above all, it is a disrespectful word for city dwellers, i.e. for people who do not do physical work.” That is perfidious, in any case, inexperienced politicians, for instance, wouldn’t have it simple: “I would rather drive a glyphosate tractor across the field for 14 hours, than having to negotiate with the FDP,” Duve flattered the Green Agriculture Minister on Tuesday night.

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But the self-confessed vegetarian Özdemir refused to take the ball: “You can't just attack the farmers. “This is allowing my own profession to get away too easily,” the skilled politician determined. Arrogance is misplaced: farmers are pillars of rural life in district councils, parishes and fireplace departments.

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Duve, who lives in Brandenburg, may nonetheless rail in opposition to farmers who demanded assist for issues with local weather change, which they themselves helped to trigger. And that too by way of protest parades with tractors for 300,000 euros. “The farmers' association always seems to me like a naughty monster child who hasn't heard 'no' in decades,” complained the 62-year-old. Therefore, a wedge should lastly be pushed between the farm officers and the farmers.

However, that is just about the other of Özdemir's political ways. At the newest because the December austerity choices by coalition leaders Olaf Scholz, Christian Lindner and Robert Habeck, he has discovered his function as the highest farmer advocate within the cupboard – with most distance from the visitors lights. Özdemir has since reinterpreted the weak point that, as a specialist minister, he had not been knowledgeable upfront by the celebration leaders in regards to the deliberate deletion of billions in diesel and automobile tax privileges for farmers as his power. He didn't let Duve discuss him out of it both.

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When he took workplace two years in the past, he vowed to take the farmers significantly – and “then my government leadership came up with this glorious idea of ​​austerity measures,” reported Özdemir. What “this government” has achieved is “great statesmanship,” the minister stated about his cupboard colleagues: the quarreling farmer factions are “all united for a moment because of agricultural diesel.”

And rightly so: in any case, there isn’t a ecological various as gasoline for tractors. In addition, the visitors gentle failed to talk to farmers earlier than making the choices. “This is how you make people hate climate protection,” warned Özdemir.

Duve countered. The farmers would even have demonstrated at each different reduce, whether or not it made sense or not, she speculated: “Of course there are poor farmers. But there are also rich farmers – and both always complain equally strongly.” The average income of pig farmers almost doubled during Özdemir's term in office – despite omnipresent animal suffering. “We have to treat the farmers more roughly and show less understanding,” she demanded.

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Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens)

The under-complex argument of the “stupidly bold” farmers’ association called for just as plausible criticism: “We have to go down to the same low level,” said the author – until Özdemir felt compelled to defend even his most zealous critic, the farmers’ president Joachim Rukwied. The ministry is working constructively with the farmers' association on the question of how more women could inherit farms, Özdemir countered the feminist Duve.

Özdemir briefly revealed his strategy for dealing with lobbyists: “You can't get very far with a sledgehammer. You have to find allies from within and break the thing open.” The Swabian received support from the Austrian Reinhard Kaiser-Mühlecker, whose latest novel “Poacher” tells of a young farmer in the fight for his inheritance. According to the author, the farmers see themselves as a “class that is relatively low down and not seen.”

But when part-time organic farmer Kaiser-Mühlecker also wanted to talk to Özdemir about fallow land regulations rather than literature, it was up to the Slovenian author Nataša Kramberger to bring at least a spark of poetry into the evening. Farmers are the only ones who understand how to work with nature – even to the point of esotericism, said the 41-year-old: “But we’ve got promoted an agricultural trade that now behaves in precisely the identical method: like an trade.”