• Germany edition
 
Politicians push to give public its say
Photo: DPA

Politicians push to give public its say

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

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Have Your Say
Should Germany legalize cannabis?
Photo: DPA

Should Germany legalize cannabis?

A New York Times editorial on Sunday called for the US to drop its ban on marijuana, calling the strongly-worded law a "laughing stock". Should Germany follow the US states of Colorado and Washington and legalize recreational use of the drug? READ  

Cows kill German dog walker in Austria
File Photo: DPA

Cows kill German dog walker in Austria

A 45-year-old German woman died when she was attacked by a herd of 20 cows and calves on Monday afternoon on an Alpine pasture in Tyrol's Stubaital valley. READ  

Knut goes on display in Berlin museum
Knut's new home in Berlin's Natural History Museum. Photo: DPA

Knut goes on display in Berlin museum

Germany’s favourite polar bear Knut is set to pull in the crowds again - but this time from a display case. More than three years after his death, his real fur has been used to create a new Knut for a museum exhibition. READ  

And the winner of the EU single market is...
German incomes are higher thanks to the EU. Photo: DPA

And the winner of the EU single market is...

Germany and Denmark came out as the winners of the European Union's single market in a study released on Monday. Integrating economically with its neighbours has helped the German economy grow an average of €37 billion a year since 1992. READ  

Synagogue attacked, rabbi gets death threats
Police check the outside of a synagogue in Wuppertal for evidence of arson on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Synagogue attacked, rabbi gets death threats

A wave of anti-Semitism in Germany, unleashed by the Gaza crisis, shows no sign of abating. A synagogue was attacked on Tuesday morning, a rabbi received death threats and anti-Jewish comments online have increased. Attacks on mosques have also risen. READ  

UBS pays Germany €300m in tax fight
Photo: DPA

UBS pays Germany €300m in tax fight

Top Swiss bank UBS settled a long-running legal dispute with Germany on Tuesday by agreeing to pay a fine of €300 million. Germany suspects UBS of having helped account holders hide millions from the taxman. READ  

Two die as heavy rain and floods hits west
Münster was one of the areas worst hit by Monday night's heavy rain. Photo: DPA

Two die as heavy rain and floods hits west

UPDATE: A man drowned in his cellar on Monday night as heavy rain battered parts of north-western Germany. A second man died when he tried to drive through a flooded street. The emergency services were in places overwhelmed by hundreds of calls. There are further weather warnings in place for Tuesday. READ  

EU to hit Russia with tough sanctions
Merkel has finally lost patience with Putin. Photo: DPA

EU to hit Russia with tough sanctions

The EU is set to agree a raft of new wide-ranging sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, after Germany changed its stance on upping the economic pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine crisis. READ  

'Mad professor' to swim length of Rhine
Professor Andreas Fath, 49, in training along the Rhine in Baden-Württemberg in June. Photo: DPA

'Mad professor' to swim length of Rhine

German chemistry professor Andreas Fath started on Monday a gruelling four-week solo swim down the Rhine river for the benefit of science and the environment. READ  

Unfair advantage for one-legged long jumper?
Markus Rehm became German champion on Saturday. Photo: DPA

Unfair advantage for one-legged long jumper?

Paralympics gold medallist Markus Rehm triumphed over his non-disabled rivals on Saturday, winning the German long jump championship. But athletics officials are now reviewing whether his prosthetic leg gave him an unfair advantage. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Education
Germany's students fail to graduate in time
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Hamburg harbour lit up in blue
Business & Money
JobTalk: 'Application process is failing'
Photo: Bundesarchiv/Bild 183-S45825
Culture
Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online
Photo: DPA
Society
This man wants to give all of us €12,000 a year
Photo: DPA
Education
Top university switches master's courses to English
instagram.com/gotzemario
Gallery
Germany's World Cup stars share their holiday photos
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The Local List: 12 best words in German
Photo: DPA
Gallery
German Bucket List: How many of these can you tick off?
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
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

3,227
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd