Federal government throttles funding
Seven federal states angry about reduced agricultural budget
08/04/2023, 05:18 p.m
The federal cabinet wants to cut the funds for the joint task of agricultural structure and coastal protection from 1.13 billion euros to 840 million euros. Ministers of agriculture in several countries are taking to the barricades. The traffic light coalition is not keeping its promises, the accusation is.
The cuts in funding for rural areas planned by the federal cabinet are met with a great deal of criticism and rejection. In a letter to Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir, seven federal states reject the planned financial cuts in the so-called GAK subsidies (joint task for agricultural structure and coastal protection). There was also criticism of the plans from local authorities and other party politicians.
“The federal states see the constitutional foundations of the GAK shaken with the planned cuts by the federal government,” says a letter from the agriculture ministers of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein to Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir. The letter is available from the German Press Agency in Munich.
There is also massive criticism of the reduction plans from the municipal side across all parties. In Bavaria, all 71 district administrators appealed to the traffic light coalition to prevent the weakening of rural areas. Numerous projects in the districts could otherwise not be continued. “The federal government is moving away from the goal of equal living conditions in all parts of the Federal Republic,” said Thomas Habermann, Vice President of the Bavarian District Association, in Munich.
“Federal government contradicts coalition agreement”
“The cuts proposed by the Federal Cabinet are unacceptable for the federal states and could massively damage confidence in the reliability of politics,” the letter from the agriculture ministers continues. The seven states call on Özdemir to prevent the cuts during further deliberations in the Bundestag. Otherwise there is a risk of “significant slumps” in the area of rural development, and multi-year projects will have to be stopped.
In the federal budget draft for 2023, the funding is still set at 1.13 billion euros, in the draft for 2024 there are only funds of 840 million. However, the plans have not yet been finally decided, and the Bundestag will only deal with the draft budget after the parliamentary summer break.
“The federal government contradicts its own coalition agreement,” said Bavaria’s Agriculture Minister Michaela Kaniber. But instead of more money for rural areas or organic farming, she is now planning massive cuts in federal funds. Özdemir should have given up his “half-baked and questionable federal programs in practice and continued to actively support the federal states in their measures for rural areas”. So he lets the countries, the rural areas and the organic farming in the lurch.