Merkel meets up with German farmers

The German Chancellor has promised more say to representatives from dozens of agricultural organizations following farmers' protests.

Merkel meets up with German farmers

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday promised German farmers greater involvement in the setting of new environmental and climate protection measures, a week after thousands of farmers descended on Berlin to vent their anger about government policies.

New responses are needed in many areas, Merkel said at an agricultural summit in the German capital that brought together representatives from the sector.

"We want to do that with you, and not against you," she added.

She underlined that agriculture is "a very important part of society," as well as being an economic sector that has to operate profitably.

At the same time, Merkel noted that there is a "dramatic problem in terms of biodiversity." The farmers' protest targeted plans for new standards to protect insects and stricter rules governing the use of fertilizers, among other things.

Farmers warned that the new agricultural and environmental policies threaten their livelihoods.

They rallied in Berlin last week with 5,600 tractors that snagged traffic in and around the capital. Large demonstrations were also held in other German cities in October.

The chancellor said it is important to bring the different areas together and find approaches that will offer farmers a future, and stability. This should be done "cooperatively," she added.

Around 40 agricultural organizations were invited to Monday's meeting.