A Swiss vote on Sunday in favour of giving small shareholders the right to cap executives' pay has prompted German politicians to call for a similar law in this country.
More than two-thirds of Swiss voters came out on Sunday in favour of a new law that would allow shareholders to decide what salaries the top executives should get, and get rid of "golden handshakes" - bonuses for top managers departing or arriving on the board.
The result prompted several German politicians to come out in favour of a similar law not only in Germany, but in Europe.
"The referendum is an important step in the right direction," Joachim Poß, deputy parliamentary leader for the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), told the Neue Osnabbrücker Zeitung. "The result should be understood as an encouragement for the introduction of a European directive."
Poß admitted that the Swiss law could not be imported wholesale as it is, but the principle was important. "People no longer accept this perverse bonus system that exists not only in banks but in industry generally," he said.
Michael Fuchs, economic policy spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, also welcomed the Swiss initiative. "It's a way of making sure that salary decisions are made by the owners of companies, not by the state," he told the Bild newspaper.
"There is no explanation other than greed for the fact that a DAX board member earns 54 times as much as a worker," Katja Kipping, head of the socialist Left party told the WAZ newspaper group. She said that Germany needs a debate on the "limits of inequality."
Gerhard Schick, finance policy spokesman for the Green party, also called on the German government to send a signal. "We need stronger rules against salary excesses in Germany," he said.
Top 10 Best paid CEOs in Europe
Position 10: Dieter Zetsche
The Mercedes-Benz is a symbol of his success: Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler, earns. 8,654,000 Euros. In addition, the 59-year is a board member of RWE Power.
Position 9: Peter Löscher
The CEO of Siemens, Peter Löscher, The annual income of the native Austrian is about 8,708,633.
Position 8: Josef Ackermann
Ackermann celebrates after his retirement as CEO of Deutsche Bank successes. 2011, he earned € 9,355,150.
Position 7: Terry Leahy
The Briton, Terry Leahy is the seventh top earner in Europe. The CEO of Tesco, the third largest supermarket chain in the world, has an annual income of 9,922,936 Euros.
Position 6: Severin Schwan
In his capacity as CEO of Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Severin Schwan earned last year Euro 10,021,932. The CEOs of pharmaceutical companies in Europe are the people with the highest income.
Position 5: Peter Voser
Three years ago, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, Peter Voser, was the best paid European Manager. With an income of 10,208,000 Euros, he is now only in fifth place.
Position 4: Bernard Arnault
Bernard Arnault, leads to not only the list of the richest Europeans, but is also head of luxury goods group LVMH. The annual income of the major shareholder of Christian Dior is 10,696,670 Euros - it also secures 4th place in the list of Europe's most paid Managers.
Position 3: Alfredo Saenz Abad
Abad is the only Spaniard in the list of Europe's best paid managers. The graduate economist is CEO of Bank Santander and earned 10.723 million Euros.
Position 2: Joseph Jimenez
Jimenez is CEO of Swiss biotechnology and pharmaceutical company Novartis, the world's second largest company in the industry. His annual income is € 12,544,596.
Position 1: Martin Winterkorn
Toping the list is the German CEO of Volkswagen (VW) Martin Winterkorn, is the best paid manager in Europe! His annual income is currently at 16,596,206 Euros.