Crisis aid for farmers: Cem Özdemir's big number swindle

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Sleight of hand: While Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir has announced one-off crisis aid for agriculture totaling €180 million, farmers elsewhere will be deducted more funding in the long term. A comment.

Simon Michel-Berger, agrarheute

On Friday, 06/10/2022 – 05:00

German farmers are to receive a total of 180 million euros to support them in view of the massive increase in production costs. But after the budget debate in the Bundestag at the beginning of June, it became apparent that a large part of the money was a scam. A comment.
At the end of April, Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir announced in a press release that he intended to increase the €60 million from crisis aid in the Common Agricultural Policy by a further €120 million from national funds. He would have liked to give more, but unfortunately there are legal limits, said the minister. The funds are paid out via a reduction in social security contributions in the SVLFG. Heroic minister mobilizes 180 million euros for his farmers as crisis management – the Federal Ministry of Agriculture gives this political twist to history. However, the back and front do not match.

Direct payments will be cut for all farmers

The €60 million in EU crisis aid is not fresh money. They are fed from a cut in EU direct payments to all farms in Germany. The money that goes into the right pocket of the farmers is taken out of their left pocket.
Funds for accident insurance will be cut at the same time
At the second budget consultation on the budget of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture at the beginning of June, it was confirmed that the federal subsidy for agricultural accident insurance would be reduced from €177 million to €100 million. Farmers are therefore threatened with a contribution that is up to 20% higher. From the €120 million that flow into the SVLFG as part of the crisis aid, you have to deduct the €77 million that come to farmers as an additional burden for the employers’ liability insurance association. Of the €180 million, this leaves €43 million net in aid in 2022.
Why the cut in accident insurance outweighs the crisis aid


Sven Stolzenwald

A commentary by agrarheute editor-in-chief Simon Michel-Berger.
Before farmers are happy that they will receive an additional 43 million this year from the crisis aid, one should think about the longer-term effects of the reduction in the subsidy for accident insurance: The 77 million € that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture saves are permanently lost and lead to a Increase in contributions to the trade association by at least 18% – year on year. Crisis assistance, on the other hand, is unique. It is not Cem Özdemir who decides on a possible future approval, but the European Commission. It mobilized crisis aid for the first time this year because of the Ukraine war. If we assume that the traffic light coalition stays in power for four years, the cut in accident insurance costs farmers a total of €308 million.

Why Cem Özdemir could help if he wanted to

Finally, it is not quite correct when Federal Minister of Agriculture Özdemir says that there are legal limits to more aid. This is the case with crisis aid. But as part of the Corona aid, his ministry’s budget was over €500 million larger than in the previous year. The 2022 agricultural budget has to deal with many crises with less money. More would have been possible if one had wanted it. The EU Commission also envisages additional aid options through national aid. But if you don't apply for a permit because you don't want to spend anything, you can't help your farmers either. No matter how much Özdemir can present himself as the farmers' advocate: Polish farmers receive special aid that German farmers are denied – not because that's not possible in Germany, but because we have no political interest.
What money is there for in the 2022 agricultural budget
The second budget consultation in the Bundestag at the beginning of June clearly showed where there is political will to help in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture: German animal shelters are to be supported with €5 million to care for the animals of Ukrainian refugees.

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