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Merkel Rejects Minimum Wage in Rebuff to SPD Election Challenger

March 13 (Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany doesn’t need a federal minimum wage, rejecting a plank in her main challenger’s platform for Sept. 22 elections.

In an interview with the Chemnitzer Freie Presse newspaper, Merkel said she backs European Union efforts to limit compensation in the financial industry and to let shareholders decide on pay for corporate officers, saying “lack of moderation” doesn’t jibe with a “free and social” country.

Merkel’s comments are a retort to Peer Steinbrueck, her Social Democrat opponent and first-term finance minister, whose party backed a campaign platform this week that calls for “taming finance” and a “more just” society, including a national minimum wage of 8.50 euros an hour ($11).

“It’s more sensible to set wage minimums that take regional differences and specific sectors into account, not a politically determined one-size-fits-all minimum wage,” Merkel said, according to the interview posted on her government’s website.

She said her Christian Democrat-led coalition is working on giving the government powers to promote individual minimum-wage deals between employers and workers. Merkel didn’t elaborate, according to the transcript.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Czuczka in Berlin at aczuczka@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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