Road paralysis in Germany. What’s next?

Author: Marek Szymański
Paraliż dróg w Niemczech

Germany is paralyzed. Farmers are protesting, but so are transporters, and German railroads are about to join the strike. Highway exits are paralyzed, and if the protest doesn't end in a few days, deliveries of many goods across Europe could be halted. The protest is being coordinated by the German Farmers' Union and the Federal Union for Road Transport, Logistics and Utilization (BGL)

The blockade of roads and rail routes could have serious consequences for the German economy, but also for supply chains across Europe. The protests have halted production at one Volkswagen plant, for example.

What do the protesting farmers and transport companies want? About the return of sector subsidies withheld by the government and the excessive burden of CO2 emissions costs on businesses and farmers. This is because the German budget needs additional funds related to, among other things, the implementation of the climate package, i.e. the abandonment of cheap gas and nuclear power plants, and a plan to drastically reduce carbon emissions. As Bloomberg reports, fuel supplies in some parts of southern Germany have been disrupted as farmers have blocked roads and highways in protest of the planned phase-out of agricultural subsidies. 

This is because the implementation of climate goals strongly affects food producers and the transportation sector. – Each country is struggling with other ways to restrict agriculture, which are more or less a result of the European Union’s climate policy. However, with increasing demands on European farmers, the European Union is accepting huge imports of agri-food products from Ukraine. This is destroying European farmers, comments the Polish Institute of Agricultural Economics.

Farmers from other countries are also joining the protest, blocking border crossings. German farmers have been joined by Dutch and Polish farmers, but also farmers from Romania, France, Belgium, Austria and Hungary, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Operations at the German ports of Hamburg, Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven are also expected to be disrupted, according to experts.