Fact Check: German Farmers Are NOT 'Furious' About Ukraine Grain Imports And Financial Aid For Kyiv


  • szerzõ: Lead Stories
Fact Check: German Farmers Are NOT 'Furious' About Ukraine Grain Imports And Financial Aid For Kyiv Mad About Cuts

Are German farmers "furious" about their government's financial support for Ukraine's war effort and imports of Ukrainian grain to European markets? No, that's not true: The farmers who have been blocking traffic on German roads are upset about the government's planned subsidy cuts and tax policies, not its policies toward Ukraine. Moreover, an opinion poll shows that a majority of Germans either support the government's financial aid to Ukraine or think it does not go far enough.

The claim appeared in a Hungarian-language video (archived here) published on TikTok on January 12, 2024, under the title "Germany presents: This is what happens to a government for which Ukrainians are more important than its own people!" (Translation from Hungarian to English by Lead Stories staff).

The presenter, Dániel Deák (archived here), is a partner at Megafon Center (archived here), which produces social-media content in support of Hungary's governing Fidesz party. Deák says, as translated:

Do you know why the Germans are actually furious? Why the farmers' protests are happening? German politicians have recently been talking more about Ukraine than about their own homeland. They support Ukraine with weapons and money at the price of destroying their own economy... Nor is [the Berlin government] interested in the fact that Ukrainian grain has pummeled farmers in the [European] Union and Germany... They are only interested in one thing: Pushing as much money and as many weapons as possible on Ukraine and satisfying their American honchos.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

German Farmers.JPG

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Jan 16 12:27:22 2024 UTC)

Hundreds of German farmers descended on Berlin on December 18, 2023, to demand that Chancellor Olaf Scholz reverse his plans to slash diesel subsidies and abolish tax breaks for agricultural vehicles in order to shore up the 2024 budget, according to Reuters (archived here). The government agreed to soften the blow by phasing in the diesel-subsidy cuts over a three-year period and keeping preferential tax treatment for new farm vehicles, according to Reuters (archived here). Yet the farmers refused to abandon their demonstrations, with a horde of tractors and trucks bringing traffic around the German capital to a standstill on January 15, 2024, Reuters reported (archived here).

Nowhere do the farmers cite Ukrainian grain flooding EU markets or state aid to Ukraine as major grievances. A Google search (archived here) conducted on January 17, 2024, for the German keywords "Bauernproteste" ("farmers' protests"), "Getreide" (grain), and "Ukraine" going back to December 18, 2023, turned up nothing linking Ukraine to the turbulence on Germany's roads.

A search (archived here) for the word "Ukraine" on the website of the German Farmers' Association (DBV) conducted on January 17, 2024, showed that industry leaders are mindful that a Ukrainian grain glut is putting pressure on prices, but also know that this is partially offset by increased demand in other parts of the world. A DBV market report (archived here) dated January 2, 2024, said (as translated by Google Translate):

The still high export volumes in Ukraine and the extraordinarily good wheat harvest in Russia and the resulting high export volumes are dragging down the world market price. However, this should not obscure the fact that the global supply balance for wheat and corn is still tight, precisely because of the below-average corn harvest in the USA... There is also the black box of China, a large importer of grain. A reliable outlook for 2024 is hardly possible due to the uncertain global situation.

It is accurate that the Scholz administration was initially trying to save about 900 million euros ($977.2 million) on the backs of German farmers, according to Reuters (archived here), while appropriating more than 27.8 billion euros ($30.2 billion) to aid Ukraine's war effort as of December 22, 2023, according to a statement by the German Federal Foreign Office (archived here).

However, an opinion poll (archived here) by ARD-DeutschlandTrend published on January 4, 2024, shows that 52 percent of Germans either consider Germany's assistance to Ukraine to be "adequate" or think it does not go far enough. Some 41 percent of respondents said it was "too much," according to the poll.

The claim in the TikTok video grafts the Hungarian government's angst over Ukrainian grain imports (archived here) and its staunch opposition to military aid to Ukraine (archived here) onto the German situation. On January 17, 2024, Hungary's government wrapped up its 2023 National Consultation (archived here), a public-relations campaign that criticized EU nations for supplying Ukraine with weapons, as Germany does, branding them as "warmongers."


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