Schulz ready for tense talks with Merkel

04 December, 2017, 01:05 | Author: Phil Peters
  • No German 'grand coalition' yet: SPD's Schulz

Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader on Friday denied media reports that claimed his party was ready to enter coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Conservatives.

The chairman said the SPD's executive committee would discuss various options on Monday, and make a proposal which would be discussed at SPD's party conference from December 7 to 9 in Berlin.

The SPD executive will debate all options, a minority government or a grand coalition again with the Union.

Contradicting a report by Bild newspaper, Schulz said the party leaders had not agreed to start talks on a new "grand coalition". He had called the chancellor to complain about "inacceptable" leaks to the press, the Social Democrat leader said. Schulz fronts a party which is split evenly down the middle on what he should do next.

With hopes of forming a majority government with former Free Democratic and Social Democratic parties still unclear and the opposition AfD now being the third biggest party in parliament, Angela Merkel may have to settle for a minority government or face snap elections. "As before, I remain sceptical that you can do that by carrying on "business as usual" in a grand coalition".

Merkel told the party conference that she wants to "come quickly to a government", adding that Germany must have a stable government, "but also a government that really advances the country".

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Meantime, she continues to head a caretaker government made up of her conservatives and the Social Democrats.

Another senior member of Merkel's Christian Democrat Union (CDU), Mike Mohring, said he was hopeful for an eventual grand coalition and expected a new government to be formed by March.

In particular, he said he would demand German support for Emmanuel Macron's proposals for a Brussels-based finance minister and single budget for the Eurozone.

Earlier on Friday, SPD politicians said they would not be rushed into joining a new grand coalition.

"Giving Emmanuel Macron a positive answer will be a key element in every negotiation with the SPD", Schulz was quoted as saying in the interview made available on Friday, adding that he also backed a joint European Union tax policy.

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