• Germany's news in English
 

Politicians push to give public its say

Published: 10 Mar 2013 11:37 GMT+01:00

“A little bit more of Switzerland would be good for us,” Bavaria’s state president Horst Seehofer told the newspaper.

Last Sunday Swiss voters, in a referendum, overwhelmingly backed measures that will severely restrict executive pay and eliminate golden parachutes.

Seehofer said his party – the Christian Social Union – is pushing for a direct vote on fundamental European questions, he said.

Those questions, according to Seehofer, include whether or not to transfer important powers to Brussels, which countries to admit to the European Union and how much financial help it should get.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party, is also in favour of this. Parliamentary leader Rainer Brüderle said, “I recognize representative democracy but want to enhance it with elements of direct democracy.”

He said he is pushing for citizens’ decisions and participation on the federal and state levels.

According to a poll, Germans would most like a direct say when it comes to the elimination of nuclear power and changes in energy policy. They would also like a direct vote on the minimum wage question and on whether to limit managers’ salaries, among other topics.

The Greens, Social Democratic Party and the Left have all come out in favour of more decisions made directly by Germans. Green Party leader Claudia Roth said citizens should decide which topics they want to vote directly on.

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:22 March 10, 2013 by Bigfoot76
It is hard for me to imagine that we could actually limit the salaries of managers. I would be all in favor for it as long as there are no hidden snares or tricks to it. It is fare that the higher ups make more money but not the ridiculous amounts some of them are earning.
16:48 March 10, 2013 by lucksi
Not going to happen. If the people had any say in key issues -as it should be- we wouldn't have gotten the Euro, or that stupid reform of the German language. But hey, elections are coming up and we need the popular vote, so we will totally promise to give the plebes a say.
05:12 March 11, 2013 by owlguard
Comment: Democracy in its pure form is tyrrany of the majority. Maybe Germany is different but in the USA when a jury of average citizens is randomly called togather they look a lot more like the huddled masses than educated, leveled headed decision makers. The founding fathers of the USA did not trust the masses and they did not trust the elite so they came up with a constitutional republic. Referendums are good but to think that significant policy decisions for the country would be made by "John Q. Public" is wrong.

Putting a cap on executive compensation might sound wise. Just be advised that there are people who are really good at being an executive and you don't want to run them off to another country. Freedom is in he ability to choose, to aspire. What about sports figure salaries? What about actors salaries? What about the lawyer (who spends $250,000 and eight years in universities) salaries? What about the writter who hits it big with fiction books like Harry Potter? Who among you is qualified to determine what is "fair" compensation for these professions? Socialists would disconnect compensation for the job from the quality of the job done. Each would receive according to their need and would be expected to perform according to their ability. George Orwell 1984, or better yet, Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged.
11:45 March 11, 2013 by twisted
Regarding compensation, there is a big difference between independent persons who can command big salaries like writers, actors or sports figures and those who lead publicly-held companies. In the latter, the stockholders should have a say in the salary and bonuses paid to the executives of the company. Boards of Directors are too incestuous to award salaries. Too many of the members of the boards just sit on other boards and give each other huge salaries. No, that has to stop and I support the idea of a LAW that says how much difference can exist between the highest paid executive and the lowest paid employee. The more you pay your lowest paid employee, the higher the salaries for the top executives. If the €83 million that was to be paid as a golden handshake to the Novartis executive were to be shared among the employees, that money would quickly enter the economy whereas the retiring executive would just bank it or invest it. And that is exactly why the financial gap between the wealthy and the average citizen is growing.

As for sportsmen and women, they are all overpaid and, of course, the fans are to blame…If they would stop attending matches or games and quit buying all of that junk that goes to support the team (or more the owners), salaries would come down from the sky and be more reasonable. Professional sports are not sports any longer, but just big business. I refuse to pay to attend any sporting event.

And as for a more direct democracy by the citizens of a country, I say yes. It is about time that elected politicians start reflecting the will of the people rather than lobbyists and big businesses.
Today's headlines
Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday
Photo: DPA

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday

Teachers all over the country are expected to stike starting Monday, German education trade union GEW said, after negotiations with the wage commission of the federal states (TdL) failed to achieve results. READ  

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes
Andre Shepherd at the European Court of Justice in June 2014. Photo: DPA

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes

American soldier Andre Shepherd, who applied for asylum in Germany as a conscientious objector against the war in Iraq after going AWOL from his unit, saw a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) go against him on Thursday. READ  

Intersex person sues clinic for unncessary op
Photo: DPA

Intersex person sues clinic for unncessary op

Intersex person Michaela Raab is suing doctors in a Nuremberg court, who she said operated on her genitals and put her through female hormone therapy without having told her she was genetically a man. READ  

Greece bailout
Greece bailout passes with massive majority
Wolfgang Schäuble addressing the Bundestag on Friday. Photo: DPA

Greece bailout passes with massive majority

UPDATE:German MPs voted 542-32 in favour of extending Greece's bailout programme on Friday. READ  

German soars into ski jump top spot
Photo: DPA

German soars into ski jump top spot

Germany is a "Weltmeister" again, this time in ski-jumping. Severin Freund's 134-metre vertical jumps, and new world distance record of nearly 136 metres, ended the nearly decade-and-a-half wait for German ski jump fans starved for gold. READ  

Muslim Council says Jewish fears 'justified'
Muslims at prayer in Frankfurt's Abubakr Mosque. Photo: DPA

Muslim Council says Jewish fears 'justified'

After the president of the Central Council of Jews warned against anti-Semitism in Muslim areas of German cities, his Muslim opposite number agreed that 'these fears are justified”. READ  

Consumer rights office slams Facebook
Photo: DPA

Consumer rights office slams Facebook

The Federation of Consumer Protection Offices (vzbv) has warned Facebook over legal breaches in its terms and conditions, saying that its claim on the homepage that “Facebook is free and always will be” is misleading. READ  

Spoof hails Varoufakis: puts 'hell' in 'Hellenica'
Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's "Minister of Awesome". Photo: DPA

Spoof hails Varoufakis: puts 'hell' in 'Hellenica'

An offering that rehabilitates the much-maligned German sense of humour is rocking the internet with a searing spoof metal tribute to Greece's formidable new finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, filled with painful moments of self-mockery. READ  

This Week in History
Kafka's Metamorphosis: 100 years of perplexity
Franz Kafka. Photo: DPA

Kafka's Metamorphosis: 100 years of perplexity

100 years ago, Franz Kafka published The Metamorphosis, now seen as one of the most significant works of 20th century German literature. The Local speaks to the academic who has reinterpreted it for a modern audience. READ  

Nurse jailed for life for serial patient murders
Niels H. in court. The five murder counts against the former nurse may just be the start. Photo: DPA

Nurse jailed for life for serial patient murders

A male nurse who injected patients with overdoses of heart medication for the thrill of resuscitating them was on Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment on five counts of murder. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,454
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd