Bad weather behind asparagus price hike

The endless winter has left Germany in a bad mood, and now the asparagus lovers among them have another thing to complain about after it emerged the cold weather will raise their price and delay the season.

Bad weather behind asparagus price hike
Photo: DPA

On a more positive note, German Weather Service the DWD said on Friday that while the extended winter is not over, Sunday’s weather should at least be a bit better, as temperatures over 10C in some parts of the country are forecasted.

Meteorologists warned that a “perfect sunny and warm spring day” might not be in the cards for next week but “an improvement is in sight.”

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast

This should be welcome news for the country’s farmers – especially those preparing for the upcoming asparagus crop, an annual even in Germany when white asparagus fills shops in April for several weeks.

The delicacy is often served with boiled potatoes and butter and is an annual sign of spring.

But this year consumers can expect the sought-after-vegetable to arrive a bit later and be more expensive than last year, according to Joachim Rukwied, president of the German Farmers Association.

“In principle we are three to four weeks later with our spring work and vegetation,” he said, blaming the delay on the freezing temperatures.

When it comes to asparagus, farmers are having to spend a lot more on keeping the crop warm – and the delicacy will carry a corresponding price tag, he said. He did not specify how much more expensive it might be and added that it is unclear if other field crops will also be more expensive.

The Local/DAPD/mw

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France, Germany, Spain and Italy to sidestep Hungary on global tax plan

Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands said Friday they would implement an international minimum tax on big corporations, sidestepping Hungary's opposition to an EU-wide plan.

France, Germany, Spain and Italy to sidestep Hungary on global tax plan

The decision by the top European economies effectively ends months of effort to implement the tax jointly across all 27 member states.

The 15-percent minimum tax was one of two pillars of a major international agreement decided at the OECD and signed by more than 130 countries, including Hungary and the United States.

“Should unanimity not be reached in the next weeks, our governments are fully determined to follow through on our commitment,” the countries said in a joint statement.

“We stand ready to implement the global minimum effective taxation in 2023 and by any possible legal means,” the countries added.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who initiated the joint text, said that “tax justice must be a priority for the European Union”.

“We will put in place minimum taxation from 2023, either through the European route or through the national route,” said Le Maire.

Christian Lindner, his German counterpart, said Germany will “if necessary” adopt the tax “independently of an agreement at the European level”.

The EU’s original ambition was that the 27-member bloc would be the first jurisdiction to implement the OECD-brokered agreement. The bloc-wide plan needed the vote of all EU countries in order to pass.

The resistance by Hungary came as the relationship with its EU partners remained fraught, with Budapest along with Warsaw seen as steering away from the bloc’s democratic values.

The Hungarian veto of the minimum tax is seen by many in Brussels as a means of pressure to obtain the release of seven billion euros ($7.3 billion) in grants planned under the European pandemic recovery plan.

Poland’s acceptance of the minimum tax came after Brussels accepted Warsaw’s recovery plan, which should see it receive 36 billion euros in grants and loans over the next several years.