Germany′s SPD adopts manifesto for EU elections | News | DW | 23.03.2019
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Germany's SPD adopts manifesto for EU elections

Germany's Social Democrats have adopted policies they want to campaign on in EU parliamentary elections in May. But polling suggests voters won't be very kind to Germany's biggest center-left party.

Some 200 delegates from Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) on Saturday adopted an EU electoral manifesto calling for EU-wide reforms to social security, taxation and migration policy.

The move came ahead of EU parliamentary elections in May and is the party's latest attempt to win back voters after a disastrous result in the 2017 German parliamentary elections.

The SPD manifesto's core proposals

  • A minimum wage in all EU member states. Each country would set it at 60 percent of the average national wage.
  • Harmonization of corporation tax rates across all EU countries and an EU-wide financial transaction tax.
  • A bloc-wide distribution system for refugees and an end to border controls within the Schengen visa-free zone.
  • A reduction in EU funds for member states that contravene the rule of law.
  • The creation of an EU foreign minister post and an EU seat in the UN Security Council.

Read more: Could Germany see a new left-wing coalition in government?

'Europeans with heart and soul'

SPD leader Andrea Nahles railed against right-wing European leaders who she accused of trying to undermine the EU. "We won't let ourselves be talked into breaking Europe — not by a Salvini. Not by a Gauland. Not by an Orban," she said.

She was referring to Italy's Interior minister, Matteo Salvini, AfD chief Alexander Gauland and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The SPD's lead candidate for the European elections, Justice Minister Katarina Barley, accused Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the leader of the SPD's coalition partners, the Christian Democrats (CDU), of prioritizing banking and business interests.

"This is what Europe looks like for CDU," Barley said.

Read more: Germany's SPD focuses on welfare as way out of poll misery

SPD's electoral angst

Support for the SPD has been plummeting since Germany's 2017 parliamentary elections, when it had its worst electoral result in the post-war era.

The party got 27 percent of the vote in the 2014 European parliamentary elections, but polls suggest it will struggle to reach its target of 20 percent in 2019.

Udo Bullmann, a member of the European Parliament, told delegates: "Don't let them talk you into thinking it is all gloom for Social Democrats. We'll be back."

jcg/amp (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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