German Raiffeisen Day – “We need a new start of political cooperation”

The hall was full, the mood was relaxed and the message was crystal clear: “We need a new start of political cooperation. With this federal government, you get the feeling that you are not wanted and not listened to”.

The message was sent by Franz-Josef Holzenkamp, President of the German Raiffeisen Association, and received by Friedrich Merz, Chairman of the German CDU and leader of the opposition in the German Bundestag.

Around 300 managers from the organised cooperative agricultural and food sector came to the German Raiffeisen Day in Berlin last week. At the association’s economic forum, they heard their president criticise and make clear demands of federal policy.

For example, that all of the industry’s tried-and-tested preliminary work on husbandry labelling or the Borchert Commission had not been incorporated into political decision-making. “This must change,” continued Holzenkamp, “but to do so, we need a policy that is geared towards practice.”

Friedrich Merz (CDU) took up the criticism in his response: “The next government must do its job. If it presents a similar picture to the current one, our democracy will be seriously jeopardised. The 400 districts in which the current government did not have a majority in any of them is a legitimisation problem for all democratic parties”.

Further demands of the association were already presented at the press conference in the morning by the new Managing Director of the Raiffeisenverband, Jörg Migende, who came to Berlin from BayWa at the beginning of the year.

He spoke in favour of more flexible working hours to create more “freedom for employees and families”, especially in the weather-dependent agricultural sector. “The German Working Hours Act is no longer up to date. It needs to be adapted. The EU Working Time Directive makes it possible to make working hours more flexible”. Migende argued in favour of a weekly instead of a daily maximum working time. This would give employees and employers more room for maneuver.

The third and almost most important demand, which has also been made by Friedrich Merz: Reducing bureaucracy. The current German government had announced a bureaucracy relief package for the summer, “now it’s summer”, said President Holzenkamp on the podium, “and what’s happening now? Nothing.”
Also here Friedrich Merz took up the criticism in his closing words: “Every reorganisation is linked to a profitable economy. There was applause for this.

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