• Germany's news in English

Are German politicians paid too much?

DPA/The Local · 1 Jul 2014, 14:05

Published: 01 Jul 2014 14:05 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

It was an unusual step for the president,  who is supposed to have a ceremonial role. However, Germany’s politicians are among the best paid in Europe and the move has received wide-spread support.  

The coalition government voted through the wage rise for themselves in February in its first few weeks of office.

The draft law for the pay increase passed parliament just ten days after being tabled, but it needed the signature of Gauck to come into effect - something he has refused to give so far.

Germany’s 631 MPs are paid €8,252 a month, plus €4,204 tax free for travel and overnight expenses, placing them at the top end of the table for politicians’ pay in Europe.

Wages were meant to rise by another €415 a month and a further €415 in January 2015 to €9,082 a month.

According to Bild newspaper, Gauck is concerned that the rise is not compatible with the German constitution, which states that MPs' salary increases should be related to pay rises in the rest of the country. Gauck has now passed the law to a legal team for examination.

Wages for MPs have risen 17.7 percent in the last ten years and 16.2 percent for the rest of the country, Bild newspaper to write that Gauck, who himself earns around €17,800 a month, was the “people’s president”.

Doing the country a service?

And Tagesspiegel newspaper said it was the timing of the pay hike which had also annoyed the president - it was one of the first things the new coalition government did.

“€800 extra a year in a time of stagnant or falling real income is a huge sum,” the paper said. “They could have been a little more sensitive.”

The General Anzeiger in Bonn said that even if Gauck did eventually sign the law, he had sent a "clear signal" that lawmakers could not assume for themselves "a wage increase at a level which most workers can’t even dream of.” 

Centre-right Welt newspaper, meanwhile, argued Gauck was right to check the new act. “If the president rejects the law he is doing the country a service,” it argued.

And the centre-left Frankfurter Rundschau agreed. “It would be best if he shelved the law altogether,” it said.

Story continues below…

French, Swedish and British MPs have monthly salaries of between €6,000 and €7,000, according to research from the University of Madrid.

In southern Europe, Portuguese and Spanish MPs earn less than €4,000 each month.

Generally, southern European politicians earn less than northern ones, with the exception of lawmakers in Italy, who take home €11,703 a month.

SEE ALSO: Italian MPs twice as pricey as Germans

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder to mediate in supermarket row
Gerhard Schröder. Photo: DPA

Can Gerhard Schröder bring an end to the Kaiser's Tengelmann saga?

Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd