Green Party re-elects leaders at party conference, calls for raising minimum wage and tougher climate laws

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At the end of the party conference, the Greens called for an increase in the minimum wage to twelve euros. On climate change, the delegates agreed on a compromise regarding the controversial carbon tax.

The Greens want to raise the minimum wage from currently 9.19 euros to twelve euros. A resolution passed at the party conference in Bielefeld, states that the minimum wage should not only be based on the development of collective bargaining agreements, but should also protect citizens against poverty and strengthen cohesion in society.

The Greens demand that, as an exception, this decision should not be left to the minimum wage commission, which is actually responsible for this. The committee, in which employers and employees are represented, is “refusing to work”, senior party member Michael Kellner told the delegates. “We want twelve euros immediately.” The SPD and the Left Party are also demanding an increase in the minimum wage.

Hermann Gröhe (CDU) criticized the result of the vote: “Disempowering the collective bargaining partners by setting a political minimum wage and at the same time complaining about a decreasing commitment to collective bargaining agreements – that doesn’t make any sense at all”, he told the “Rheinische Post”.

Agreement on climate demands

The delegates agreed on a compromise on the issue of the CO2 price which had sparkes controversy within the party: accordingly, the starting level for CO2 pricing should be of 40 euros per tonne, which should rise to 60 euros in 2020 and then further. The revenue from this tax is to flow into an “energy allowance” of initially 100 euros per citizen, which is to rise accordingly. With their demand for a higher CO2 price, the Greens are significantly going beyond the German government’s plans of ten euros per tonne of CO2 as starting price.

The party convention resolution also stipulates that by 2030 at the latest only emission-free cars will be authorised, for which the charging infrastructure is to be expanded and standardised. On the way to phasing out coal, they demand that at least a quarter of lignite and a third of hard coal capacities be shut down in the next three years. The capacity of wind turbines is to be “at least doubled” over the next ten years.

Baerbock criticizes Grand Coalition

Green Party leader Annalena Baerbock called for clear political rules for a climate- and environment-friendly economy. At the same time, she warned her party against unrealistic demands. Environmental and economic policy must be geared to “putting people first rather than maximising profits”. The Grand Coalition “obviously did not understand” this, Baerbock said. It is following the motto: “Out of fear we’d rather do nothing”, she added with a view to the current debate on wind power.

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