Tractors Converge on Berlin

Last week farmers from all over Germany drove their tractors to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to protest the country’s latest agricultural policies, especially those mandated by the European Union.

The first two videos below are news reports on the arrival of the farmers in Berlin. The third one shows what happened when Svenja Schulze, the Minister of the Environment, tried to speak to the assembled farmers.

Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translations, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling.

Video #1:

Video #2:

Video #3:

Video transcript #1:

00:00   In the middle of the night, at the gates of Berlin, countless tractors gather
00:05   for the last few kilometres to the capital.
00:09   They’re all part of the great protest against the federal government’s agricultural package.
00:13   The drivers are tired. For some it was a journey of several days.
00:17   The furthest one of us drove is about 720 or 710 kilometres [450 mi],
00:21   from beyond Weilheim Schongau. —The midnight ride to Berlin
00:25   has caused considerable traffic obstructions.
00:28   10,000 farmers and about 5000 tractors are expected
00:31   at the Brandenburg Gate. They demand mitigation
00:34   of the planned rules for insects, animal welfare and environmental protection.
00:38   The new bans on pesticides are hitting farmers hard.
00:42   If we want to continue producing in the coming decades, if we want
00:46   to pass on our heritage to the next generations
00:50   and our children, then we need fair and adequate prices.
00:55   On the other hand, the nitrate levels on German fields are
00:59   so high that the EU commission has been breathing down the neck of the federal government for years
01:03   and threatening it with millions in fines. And then there’s the threat of bee mortality,
01:06   which represents just one of many insect species threatened. The government
01:10   must react. Thüringen’s Nabu land manager Martin Schmitt
01:14   shows understanding for the farmers but warns: “With the current
01:17   conventional agricultural methods the farmers are digging
01:20   their own graves.” —The farmers believe their image is being damaged and therefore also demand:
01:26   That people wake up and that we are taken seriously. Yes, that’s it.
01:31   And the farmers want to be heard by the politicians.
01:35   Both the agriculture and the environment ministers will talk to them today.

Video transcript #2:

00:00   Hundreds of farmers drive to Berlin for the protest, Berlin November 26, 2019
00:17   Signs: No one is greener than us! / Agricultural package? We want to have our say!
00:21   Dear Consumer, here I am. Speak with me, not about me. / No one is greener than us!
00:39   Signs: No Farmers No Food No Future / Being a Farmer is a dream job?
00:42   Sign: This is how my dreams disappear!
00:45   Signs: Agricultural Package? We want to have our say! / From Wüllen to Berlin 550 km [342 mi]
01:03   Signs: Stop Food Imports / Your education failed? Become a politician Food shouldn’t be something cheap!
01:07   Sign: Farming is being sacrificed for globalism
01:11   Sign: The only shortage is of qualified workers in the government!
01:15   Whoever causes the farmer offence will be voted out of office.

Video transcript #3:

00:24   Shame on you! That’s not true!
00:32   We want to be able to continue feeding our animals,
00:35   and we want respect. Of course we want to have dialogue and all that.
00:39   We want the respect we deserve. The respect our society deserves. What kind of country
00:43   do we live in when our children are discouraged from working in agriculture
00:46   and are sucked out into secondary schooling instead?
00:49   You stand here telling us the usual, that we here in Germany
00:53   are so rich. Yeah, go ahead. Where are we here?
00:57   We’ve had enough of this B.S. It’s gotta stop somewhere.
01:22   Well, I see it as respect, when every German pays €11,400
01:28   per person per year for an agriculture policy of solidarity.
01:34   When we all help our farmers together, then we’ll be a richer country,
01:39   but you don’t need to listen to me if you don’t want to.
01:44   Thank you.

3 thoughts on “Tractors Converge on Berlin

  1. Elsewhere I’ve read 40.000 farmers with more than 8000 tractors demonstrated in Berlin. I found that quite impressive, wouldn’t have thought they’d still have it in them. Here’s another short video at the end of which farmers hold up green crosses. Since last year or so, those are put up everywhere in the country, to show how many farmers have to give up, how many farms die:

    German farmers have been strained by German an EU politics with their huge and complicated bureaucratic apparatus for decades. It’s a slow, but certain death process that had been going on even before I was born. Farmers are forced to produce under all sorts of regulations, so their products are far too expensive for the market. At the same time, cheap agricultural products are imported. The money, Ms. Schulze talks about in the last video, are compensations the German state and the EU pay the farmers. However, getting those compensations is difficult because auf the over blown bureaucracy, and apart from that it’s not exactly encouraging to feel like a beggar. Having grown up on a farm, I know what I’m talking about.

    • … of the over blown bureaucracy … “auf” would be German and wrong in the context 🙂

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