What’s the deal in Germany right now – updating you on last week

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As you may have heard, Germany has continuous issues that hardly are being reported on. Last, week, the this article outlined a few of them. One of the main topics are the farmers protests, that are intent on fighting for small and mid-sized businesses. The train conductors working for Deutsche Bundesbahn, are in the middle of its 6 day long protest, which not only impacts passengers but also the supply chain. Last but not least, what’s going on with Alternative for Germany and what is the mood?

Content below comes from Welt news, and I am adding a few thoughts that will be marked as such. Sources are in German, but the below may help you bridge that gap.

Farmers’ Protests

Farmers in Germany have been protesting up until last week, culminating in Germany, to protest against German household budget decisions for 2024, see this article for more details. Now, there is more to it. The government did retract their decision to cut exemption from motor vehicle tax, but cutting the subsidization of diesel is still being introduced gradually. There have been delegations to continue negotiations with the government. It has been recently stated that this is not just about these items in the federal budget for 2024. Additional measures are summing up, too. Upping the price of meat to provide better conditions for animals, soil handling restrictions is being proposed, resulting in more long term losses.

Over the last few days, protests have been announced. If you heard of protests in Mainz, Germany, farmers were showing up to confront Habeck, Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Economic affairs. On 25h January, 500 tractors were announced to protest on site.

Separately, Berlin protests happened in front of the main offices of the Green Party, Free Democrat Party and Social Democrat Party, which form the current coalition. The latter was announced in the media a few days ago. Ratification of the current federal budget is near, so you may consider this a late attempt to negotiate.

The train strikes – an estimated damage of 1 billion Euros

Here’s another hot topic, a 6 day protest to negotiate better payment for train conductors. You can hear it quite often: Aren’t they getting paid enough already? What is their deal? Does it only affect passengers or is there more?

80% of trains have been cancelled. The whole current activism is supposed to last for 6 days. It is being reported that an uptick and renting cars, and increased traffic have been noted to bypass the problem. Others were able to change their plans in time.

Well, yes, there is more. There seems to be a conflict, obviously. The labour union claims that for decades, there were not enough people to cover the job. They claim that reduced hours are required and more salary. Further to making better living I am deducting that their demand is also supposed to make the job more attractive, because recruitment efforts are not very successful. As stated elsewhere, having to cancel trains due to staff shortages seems to have to be the norm, especially in the last two years.

As promised, there is more. Cargo trains have also been cancelled. The damages due to issues in the supply chain are estimated to be at 1 billion Euros, journalist Philipp Vetter says. According to him, it looks as though the counter proposals won’t be accepted. There is already talk about the next round of cancellations.

Anything else? Let’s talk about AfD again

Well, the Alternative for Germany, AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) is making the news over and over again. While personally, I have not looked into their their governmental activities, but from what I hear, they are the ones to make petitions that counter current #Agenda2030 topics.

Well, AfD members’ views range from being European Union sceptics to ties to Neo-Nazis. Given the latter, Germany’s domestic intelligence services (Bunderverfassungsschutz) may start engaging again. The latter means to secure Germany’s constitutional foundations, looking into areas like extremism. Well, you guessed it. Personally, I applaude that constitutional principles are being upheld, and if AfD are trying to demolish any such principles, go ahead, Bundesverfassungsschutz. From where I am standing, currently there is not enough proof of any such violations. It does look to me, though, is that the government itself can’t wait to discredit and ban them. Why? Well, here’s a table of recent election results. Once you open the link, feel free to switch your browser language to English to look at the AfD results. Separately, Marine Le Pen In France stated that AfD is too extreme with their remigration plans.

At the same time, coverage of demonstrations against the far right have come up. Those are being covered by public broadcasting stations. It’s been announced that there will be 200 of them. The Christian Party sees the government’s request to stand up to the far right as an attack on them too, and in my opinion, they current Liberal Party should voice that too, maybe they have. Both have areas where they tend toward the “right” which means that the protests are not exactly in their favour.

So, what’s the mood?

As stated in another article, the mood seems to be going towards dissatisfaction due to constant pressure on German citizens with prices going up, recession, probably higher cost of living due to energy politics, farmers needing to up their prices or more future dependency on food imports, etc. In that article, a journalist is under the impression that the government is treating its working class with disdain, is selling out Germany and prioritizes other countries above its own.

In the federal state of Saxonia, last year’s survey revealed that 47% of citizens think that the government is omitting the truth, and that “Uberfremdung” is taking place. The latter means to say an excess of immigration.

Let’s see what this week brings.

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