German Greens push for big petrol tax hike

from ENDS Environmental Daily
Monday, 9 March 1998

The German Greens have called for petrol prices to be tripled over ten years as part of a major programme of ecological tax reform. At its spring conference this weekend, the party also voted to make ecological tax reform (See Resources) a prerequisite for any future governing coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD) following this autumn's federal elections. The Greens currently have about 10% support in national opinion polls, which put their combined strength with the SPD at about 50%. The move could put pressure on the SPD to strengthen its own, more modest, tax reform policies, but has been widely seen as unrealistic: reacting to the demand, SPD parliamentary leader Peter Struck described the proposal as "rubbish". Observers say that this and other outcomes of the conference - including a vote against the deployment of German troops in foreign peacekeeping missions - have damaged the credibility of the Greens as a party of government. An SPD spokesman said that plans for a coalition in the event of a "Red-Green" election victory nevertheless remained on track. "There are still contentious issues to discuss, but a coalition cannot fall just over the price of petrol," he said.

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