Monday, January 22, 2018 | ePaper

Merkel sees `tough day` in crunch German coalition talks

  • Print


Leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the acting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz shakes hands before exploratory talks about forming a new coalition government at the SPD headquarters in

Reuters, Berlin :
Chancellor Angela Merkel said her conservatives still had high hurdles to clear in Thursday's talks on forming a coalition with Social Democrats (SPD) pressing for accelerated European integration.
Merkel, weakened by an election setback in September, turned to the left-leaning SPD to seek a re-run of their so-called "grand coalition" after the collapse in November of talks on a three-way coalition untested at national level. The chancellor, who has won widespread respect abroad in more than 12 years in power, needs the coalition talks to succeed to avoid her personal authority being further undermined and Germany's international standing diminished.
Speaking at the start of the final day of exploratory talks that could lead to formal negotiations, Merkel said it would be a tough day but she recognized that Germans expected results. "Of course we also have in mind that we have to create a good policy platform for our country. So it's going to be a tough day," she said. SPD leader Martin Schulz, a former president of the European Parliament, made clear his priority was Europe.
"On the last day of exploratory talks we will make clear that above all this must be a new start for the European Union," he told reporters. "If we join a government it will be on the condition that it makes Europe strong."
Schulz has called for a United States of Europe by 2025 - an idea rejected by senior conservatives, many of whom are wary of such ambitious reform plans that they worry could see Germany funnel more of its taxpayers' money to other EU states.
However, Merkel helped lead Europe through its twin euro zone and refugee crises and is adept at finding compromises, especially on European issues.
Should the parties fail to reach a deal on Thursday they could extend the talks, though President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is eager for an agreement, keenly aware that businesses want a stable coalition to end the uncertainty and avoid another vote.
Participants have described the negotiations as "good", but SPD leaders need to convince their party members and are offering them a vote on Jan. 21 on whether to proceed.

More News For this Category

Johnson says UK should welcome Trump

AFP, London :British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called for US President Donald Trump to be welcomed to the UK, warning Sunday that resisting a visit risked damaging his country's

Assad regime promotes Syria's ruins in Aleppo as 'tourist' destination

Assad regime promotes Syria's ruins in Aleppo as 'tourist' destination

AFP, Madrid :It is over a year since Bashar al-Assad's regime, with the help of Russian air strikes and barrel bombs, pounded the rebel-held east of Aleppo into submission.Buildings

Head of popular girl band leads N Korean team to S Korea

Head of popular girl band leads N Korean team to S Korea

AP, Seoul :The head of a hugely popular North Korean girl band crossed the heavily fortified border into South Korea on Sunday to check preparations for rare performances by

Jordan`s king says East Jerusalem must be capital of Palestinian state

Jordan`s king says East Jerusalem must be capital of Palestinian state

Reuters, Amman :Jordan's King Abdullah expressed concern on Sunday over a decision by Washington to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying East Jerusalem had to be the capital of

News In Brief

French prison unions vote to press on with strikeAFP, ParisA week-long French prison strike sparked by a spate of inmate attacks on guards looks set to enter a second

US will back two-state solution if Israelis, Palestinains agree: Pence

Reuters, Cairo  :Vice President Mike Pence told Egypt's leader on Saturday the United States would support a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians if the two sides agreed to

Pope urges end to violence against women

Pope urges end to violence against women

AFP, Trujillo :Pope Francis on Saturday urged Latin America's faithful to fight rampant violent crime against women including murder, while holding mass in Trujillo, Peru's largest northern city."I wish

Sharif`s daughter Maryam to contest in next poll

Sharif`s daughter Maryam to contest in next poll

PTI, Islamabad  :Maryam Nawaz, the media-savvy daughter of ousted Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has decided to contest in the next General Election, a prominent newspaper reported on Friday,

Female Sherpa from Nepal scales new heights

Female Sherpa from Nepal scales new heights

AFP, Kathmandu :When Dawa Yangzum Sherpa first set her sights on being a mountain guide, she was told it was no job for a girl. Now she has proved

US warship 'violated' its sovereignty: China

US warship 'violated' its sovereignty: China

AFP, Beijing :Beijing on Saturday said it had dispatched a warship to drive away a US missile destroyer which had "violated" its sovereignty by sailing close to a shoal