Sunday, 20 July 2014

Minimum wage and Green Party attitude to the EU

Courtesy of news updates from the European Movement I learn that the Bundestag, Germany's hower house, has approved the introduction of a minimum wage of €8.50 per hour from 2015. At current rates of exchange, I estimate that equates to £6.40 per hour, just below the £6.50 approved for the UK starting in October. Up until this year, Germany was one of the few nations of the EU not to have a minimum wage. Its introduction was a consequence of the coalition deal resulting from the last German elections. The legislation still has to be approved by the upper house of parliament, but it is assumed that it will pass without difficulty. It will be interesting to see what difference if any the change will make to Germany's competitiveness and to immigration flows on the Continent.

Jean Lambert, one of the UK's three Green MEPs, blogged confirmation that her party has shifted its stance from a socialist Euroscepticism to a more positive, but liberal and reforming one. It seems remarkably similar to Liberal Democrats' EU platform. She writes:

we will be working with our Green colleagues from across Europe to challenge and energise the Grand Coalition of centre-right, centre-left and liberal parties in the European Parliament, not simply to oppose it. We want a positive role for the EU.
Many of the areas we want to develop as Greens - the low-carbon economy, ambitious environmental legislation, the decent work agenda based on strong labour rights, reducing inequalities, a progressive migration policy, strengthening human rights, reform of the financial sector - are going in totally the opposite direction to the Cameron reform agenda for the EU. We see his agenda as going backwards and not providing any sort of positive vision for the EU.

So it's likely that a significant part of our time in this Parliament will be spent in putting forward a Green case for our continuing membership of the EU. It's not about business-as-usual or going backwards, but about reframing the EU, including its economy, to deal with the future of our planet, tackling inequalities and promoting human rights.

One trusts that this is genuine.

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