• 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
Steinmeier cancels trip to stay at Iran talks
Photo: DPA

Steinmeier cancels trip to stay at Iran talks

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has cancelled a planned trip Thursday to the Baltics in order to stay at nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, a German diplomat said. READ  

Uber complains to EU over national bans
Photo: DPA

Uber complains to EU over national bans

Uber has filed complaints with the EU against France, Germany and Spain as the popular taxi app hits back against efforts to ban it from Europe's streets, officials said Wednesday. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Haltern mourns its children lost in crash
People gather outside the St. Sixtus Church in Haltern on Wednesday evening. Photo: DPA

Haltern mourns its children lost in crash

Haltern's St. Sixtus church was full to overflowing on Wednesday evening, as people flocked to mourn the group of schoolchildren the town lost in the Germanwings flight 4U9525 crash. READ  

Minister wants to ID Schengen passengers
Photo: DPA

Minister wants to ID Schengen passengers

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière wants to introduce rules forcing airlines to ask all passengers for identification when travelling within the Schengen free-movement zone. READ  

Berlin refugee groups speak out against arson
The charred remains of the "House of 28 doors". Photo: DPA

Berlin refugee groups speak out against arson

Pro-refugee organizations in Berlin spoke out on Wednesday in defiance of an arson attack on an art installation and gathering-place in the early hours of Tuesday morning. READ  

Lufthansa promises long-term crash help
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr (r) and Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann near the crash site on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa promises long-term crash help

On a visit to the Germanwings flight 4U9525 crash site in France, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said that the company will do its utmost to help relatives of victims and local people near the crash site. READ  

Draft fracking law meets strong opposition
An anti-fracking demonstration in front of the Chancellery on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

Draft fracking law meets strong opposition

The cabinet agreed upon a draft law on “fracking” on Wednesday which will allow testing under stringent rules. But it is unclear whether the law will pass through the Bundestag (German parliament). READ  

Germany's best April Fools' jokes
It's that time of the year again...

Germany's best April Fools' jokes

While it might not be as prevalent as in English-speaking countries, there is still a rich tradition of “Aprilscherze” in Germany. Take a look inside for some of the best of 2015. READ  

April Fools' Day
April Fool! The Local's day in gags
In our April Fool's joke we reinstated the German monarchy. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

April Fool! The Local's day in gags

No, you weren’t going crazy when you scrolled through The Local this morning. Today, our network temporarily lost its marbles for April Fools' Day. So, as the clock strikes 12pm, it’s time for The Local to fess up and reveal which of our stories were red herrings. READ  

'Cannibal cop' gets 8-year sentence
Defendant Detlev Günzel at the court in Dresden on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

'Cannibal cop' gets 8-year sentence

A court sentenced a German former police officer to eight years and six months in jail Wednesday for killing a willing victim he met on a website for cannibalism fetishists. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
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
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
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

7,018
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd