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Germany's Greens propose €12 minimum wage

November 17, 2019

The Greens called for more social and climate-friendly reforms at the end of their party conference. With the party now a potential partner in Germany's next government, their economic proposals were watched closely.

Greens party co-leaders Robert Habeck and Annalena Baerbock clap at a party conference in Bielefeld, Germany
Image: Reuters/L. Kuegeler

Raising Germany's minimum wage and increasing federal spending were among the top economic policy priorities agreed by the Greens at the end of their party conference in Bielefeld on Sunday.

In the platform agreed by party members, the Greens called for Germany's minimum wage to be increased from the current minimum of €9.19 ($10.16) per hour to €12 per hour.

They also called for restrictions on federal spending to be loosened to enable the government to invest billions more in education and infrastructure.

"We need more European engagement with the many proposals for EU investment into the future. Germany has been reluctant to do so," Greens co-leader Annalena Baerbock told DW on Saturday.

All eyes were on the Green party platform as the party sought to expand beyond environmental policies and strengthen its economic proposals — selling itself as a more attractive potential coalition partner for Germany's next government.

Germany's Greens' future

Besides outlining its economic goals, the Greens also expanded their climate protection policies, renewing its call for coal to be phased out by 2030. They also urged for a quarter of lignite and a third of black coal power stations to be halted in the next three years.

By 2030, Greens want to bar new cars with combustion engines from being permitted on the road, and called instead for emission-free vehicles to be given new permits.

Overwhelming support for party leaders

Baerbock and her fellow party leader, Robert Habeck, were also overwhelmingly re-elected to their posts by party members on Saturday.

Baerbock was re-elected with over 97% of the vote — the highest result ever seen by a Green party leader.

It remains to be seen how centrist parties will react to the Greens' latest, more left-leaning proposals, but party leaders did not discount working with others outside the left.

"We must create broader alliances, not only with those who think like us, but also with those who challenge us," Baerbock said.

The Greens have already governed successfully in state governments alongside the center-left Social Democrats as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats (CDU).

Recent opinion polls put support for the party between 18 – 23.5%, putting the party in second place behind Merkel's conservatives and ahead of the SPD.

DW's Kate Brady contributed reporting.

rs/bk (dpa, AFP)

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