Germany’s elections and what to know about agriculture

Germany’s federal elections are just around the corner – September 22nd to be exact, which also happens to fall within a critical phase of the national implementation of the CAP. As the organisation Meine Landwirtschaft aptly states in it’s campaigns, we’re fed up¬†with many of the current policies on agriculture, genetic engineering and consumer protection. Although the main parties have all promised more sustainable agriculture and animal welfare in their election platforms, there are differences in the details relating to EU agricultural subsidies, animal husbandry and welfare, genetic engineering and patents, and crop production. Below, we’ve put together an overview of the relevant key points from each party (including a link to the original document which outlines this stance).¬†
The¬†Christian Democratic Union¬†and its sister party, Bavaria’s¬†Christian Social Union, have been in coalition with the FDP since 2009. ¬†The party’s leader, Angela Merkel, is Germany’s Chancellor. ¬†They want a want a strong, entrepreneurial rural society in agriculture, supported locally by farmers and families.
EU agricultural subsidies 
no shifting from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 of the CAP
-higher direct payments for the first hectare
-maintenance of the subsidies in both columns
Crop farming
-a market better adapted to development of renewable energy sources
Animal welfare and husbandry
-development of new, animal-friendly stalls
-increase in research funding to improve farming methods
-advancement of measures to reduce the use of antibiotics
-consistently higher animal welfare standards and a limitation on animal transport times in the EU
Genetic Engineering and Patents
no patents on conventional breeding methods, livestock, and crops
Other
-support development of export markets for the German food and agricultural sector
-strengthening of regional and national markets; introduction of the ‘Regional Window’¬†labels
-effective regulation of the EU wine market to preserve classic wine regions
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-relevant excerpt from original platform can be accessed here (German) : Agriculture in the election program of the CDU / CSU 
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Germany’s¬†Social Democratic Party¬†is the country’s oldest political party and at the center-left. They want a sustainable,¬†farm-friendly, multifunctional agriculture that contributes to the development of livable, highly productive rural areas.
EU agricultural subsidies 
consistent focus on promoting environmentally friendly land management
-medium-term reduction of Pillar 1 to a smaller small base amount and shifting to Pillar 2 for strengthening and revitalization of rural landscapes
Crop farming
-reduction of the use of fertilizers and pesticides
-deceleration of the decline in grassland
-sustainable biomass production to counteract problematic changes in the agrarian structure

-diverse crop rotation to push back monocultures
Animal welfare and husbandry
curbing of industrial animal farming through appropriate legal measures
development of improved housing systems for animal needs
-drastic reduction in the use of antibiotics
right to class action lawsuits for animal welfare organisations
-transparent, clear, consumer-friendly labeling of food products from species-appropriate and humane animal husbandry methods
Genetic Engineering and Patents
-rejection of green genetic engineering
requirements for EU labeling of animal products fed with GM plants
Other
enforcement of a minimum wage in all sectors of the food industry with additional compensation for labour-intensive positions
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-relevant excerpt from original platform can be accessed here (German) : Agriculture in the election program of the SPD
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The Free Democratic Party¬†is a liberal party, and is currently in a coalition with the CDU. ¬†The party’s leader,¬†Philipp R√∂sler, holds the post of Vice-Chancellor of Germany. ¬†The FDP stands for a modern, entrepreneurial, sustainable food and agriculture industry.
EU agricultural subsidies
-no capping or degression of direct payments
-improvement of entrepreneurial freedom of the farmers via market reforms to level the playing field within the EU
-gradual decrease of direct payments from the year 2020
Animal welfare and husbandry
-animal protection legislation and reduction of the use of antibiotics
Genetic Engineering and Patents
-responsible use and further research development of modern biotechnology
-consistent labelling of all food and consumer goods that have at some stage of production used genetically modified materials
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The complete excerpt on agriculture from the original platform can be found here : Agriculture in the election program of the FDP
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The Alliance ’90/The Greens is a green political party formed in 1993 with the merger of the Green Party and the east Germany Allicance ’90. ¬†In Germany’s last federal elections, in September 2009, the party on 10.7% of the votes, receiving 68 out of 622 seats in the Bundestag. ¬†Environmental issues are the cornerstone of their platform. ¬†They stand for organic farming and environmentally friendly agriculture, GMO-free food and food, regional processing and marketing of livestock and animal-friendly, decentralized agricultural politics.
EU agricultural subsidies
–¬†linking of agricultural payments to environmental and social benefits, such as climate and environmental protection, creation of jobs, and species-appropriate methods of animal husbandry
-reclassification of 15% of the funds from the Pillar 1 to Pillar 2
-reduction of direct payments to large farms
-no further development of stalls without additional animal welfare requirements
Crop farming
-significant expansion of organic farming, with the medium-term goal of an organical agricultural model with discerning standards for Germany, above the level of EU organic certification
-drastic reduction of pesticide use, intensification of the risk assessment and authorization procedure for pesticide application
-further development of legume varieties and sustainably produced, domestic vegetable oil
-preservation of grassland
Animal welfare and husbandry
-stronger use of local feed in livestock production to reduce feed imports
-no further construction of mega-stalls, barns and feedlots, and abolition of subsidies and privileges in land lease for factory farms
– new animal protection laws requiring proper housing conditions
-prevention of misuse of antibiotics through tighter housing and treatment requirements
– limiting transport of animals within Germany to a maximum of 4 hours
-a department for public prosecution for animal welfare
-consumer education on the health, social, and environmental consequences of meat consumption, and the offering of vegetarian and vegan dishes ¬†as a standardized practice, with additional ‘Veggie Days’ in public canteens
Genetic Engineering and Patents
–¬†rejection of cultivation and import of genetically modified crops or animals
-strict rejection of patents on plants, animals, and people to prevent dependency and agribusiness
Other
-rejection of export-oriented agricultural policy
In a members vote, the end of industrial animal husbandry was selected as one of nine key projects that should be implemented as soon as possible after the elections.
The complete excerpt on agriculture from the original manifesto can be found here : Agriculture in the election program of Alliance 90/The Greens [ 63kB ]
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The Left Party is the fourth largest party in the Bundestag.  They want a comprehensive sustainable agriculture, in which the farms are enabled to deal with the economic and social challenges as well as the demands of consumer, environment and animal welfare protection organizations.
EU agricultural subsidies
-allocation of subsidies granted for environment and social achievements
-sharing of resources from regional budgets, particularly with structurally weak or underdeveloped rural areas
Crop farming
-reduction in the use of fertilizers and pesticides
-strategy for the reduction and replacements of soy imports
Animal welfare and husbandry
-animal welfare appropriate methods of husbandry
-adaptation of farming practices to animals to prevent tormenting practices
-reduction of use of antibiotics to the bare minimum (only acute illness)
-limitation of transport of animals to maximum of four hours
-comprehensive legislation for information, participation, and right of action for citizens and environmental, animal welfare and conservation organizations
Genetic Engineering and Patents
-prohibition of genetic engineering in agriculture
-intensification of the genetic engineering legislation, the EU process of approval and labelling regulations, with adherence to zero tolerance for seed and other food products
-protection of the right to free reproduction by seed, limiting the market power of seed and genetic engineering corportations
-focus on regional production, processing and marketing
Other
-conservation of broad distribution of land ownership through legislative reform
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The complete excerpt on agriculture from the original manifesto can be found here : Agriculture in the election program of the Left
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The Pirate Party won several seats at the state level in 2011 with a platform focused on internet freedom and political transparency.  They want an efficient, regionally adapted agricultural system, which allows small business to participate in a fair way and in which the requirements for sustainable farming and consumer awareness allow economic competitiveness.
EU agricultural subsidies
-no agricultural subsidies without consideration of their impact on climate, environment and animal protection
-degression and capping of Direct Payments from beyond a set amount
-long-term goal of reduction of agricultural subsidies
Animal welfare and husbandry
-rejection of industrial farming
-higher minimum standards for welfare  requirements of all farm animals
¬†–prohibition of beak and tail cuts and branding
-limiting of large animal transport to maximum of six hours
Genetic Engineering and Patents
–¬†rejection of combining seeds with pesticides and the patenting thereof
The complete excerpt on agriculture from the original manifesto can be found here : Agriculture in the election program of the Pirate Party