Germany’s Social Democrats propose EU-wide minimum wage

Germany’s Social Democrats propose EU-wide minimum wage

Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) has adopted its policies for the European parliamentary elections in May although the centre-left party is polling poorly.

Around 200 SPD delegates adopted an electoral manifesto calling for EU-wide reforms to social security, taxation and migration policy.

The party was humiliated in the September 2017 general election.

The SPD wants a minimum wage across the bloc with each country setting it at 60 per cent of the average national wage.

It called for harmonisation of corporation tax rate and a European financial transaction tax.

It wants a distribution system for refugees and an end to border controls within Schengen.

It also called for a reduction in EU funding for member states that contravene the rule of law, which would be designed to penalise Poland, Hungary and other populist-run countries.

The SPD won 27 per cent of the vote in the 2014 European parliamentary elections but polling suggests it will struggle to reach 20 per cent in May.

Brexit’s shadow

Britain will be blocked from taking part in the elections, according to the influential leader of the European People’s Party (EPP), Manfred Weber. Speaking in Ireland, he said it would be a step too far as countries had already made significant compromises.

If Britain was given a long-term extension to Article 50, it would have to elect MEPs. Other EU countries are due to gain seats after the reallocation of the UK’s 73 EU parliamentary seats.

But these seats would be put on hold if Brexit was extended beyond April 12.

“There are a lot of voices who will not accept that Great Britain will participate in the elections, I myself I must tell you I cannot explain to people in Spain, Greece, in Finland or even here in Ireland that a country that is leaving the European Union has a big say in the future of the European Union, that is a big question on the table,” said Weber. He is expected to become the next president of the European Commission.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also said the UK should be blocked from the elections.

“I think that an extension is better than a no-deal scenario and so for that reason, she [Prime Minister Theresa May] has our support, but we will have to discuss today how long the suspension should be,” Kurz told the media ahead of an EPP meeting.

“I think it is important that the UK does not take part in the European elections and it’s also necessary to make clear how we can solve the open issues because a suspension is one step but the necessary second step is to find a way how to guarantee that we have not a no-deal scenario but a well-organised Brexit,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said Ireland had legislated for various Brexit scenarios.

The SPD believes in the European project. Picture credit: Wikimedia

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