Germany′s opposition Social Democrats extend hand to the Greens | News | DW | 27.04.2013
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Germany's opposition Social Democrats extend hand to the Greens

Germany's opposition Social Democrats have appealed to the Greens to consider forming a coalition in the build up to the national election. The offer came as the Greens laid out campaign policies at their party congress.

The leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) took to the stage for day two of the Greens' party congress on Saturday to advocate forming a political union. The aim is to defeat a potential coalition formed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) following September's election.

In the first address given by an SPD leader at a Green conference, Sigmar Gabriel urged the pro-environmentalist party to cease coalition talks with the conservative CDU.

"Our opponents want us to maul each other," Gabriel said.

"As in any relationship, you want to look around and see what's available out there before you decide to move into a flat with a new partner.

"There's no harm looking. We all do that," he said, adding: "You're a special party, you've had a decisive influence on Germany, and you've made Germany a better place."

The SPD, who are second in the polls behind the CDU, would need to form a coalition with the Greens in order to stand a chance of leading the next government. The center-left party are also considered a more natural bed fellow for the Greens.

Higher taxes on top earners

Day two of the congress in Berlin also saw the Greens set out their campaign program ahead of the September 22 federal election.

They pledged to increase taxes on those earning over 80,000 euros ($104,000) to 49 percent from 42 percent, an idea backed by 52 percent of Germans, according to a Politbarometer poll for German broadcaster ZDF released Friday.

They also advocated a temporary levy on assets worth over 1 million euros, which was supported by 72 percent of those surveyed. The Greens said revenue generated by the proposal would be spent on education, childcare, environmental projects and reducing debt.

To relieve pressure on medium and low-earners, the Greens said they would increase tax-free income from 8,130 euros to 8,700 euros.

The party congress will last until Sunday.

ccp/jm (dpa, AFP)