Sunday, February 17, 2019 | 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

Turkey has not revealed all about Khashoggi killing : Erdogan

Turkey has not revealed all about Khashoggi killing : Erdogan

AFP, Ankara :Turkey has not yet revealed all the information it has discovered about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Iran threatens retaliation over car bombing that killed 27

Iran threatens retaliation over car bombing that killed 27

AP, Isfahan :The head of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard threatened to retaliate against neighboring Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates over a suicide car bombing this week that killed 27

Ex- Cardinal McCarrick defrocked over sex abuse allegations

Ex- Cardinal McCarrick defrocked over sex abuse allegations

AFP, Vatican :Pope Francis has defrocked a former cardinal in a first for the Roman Catholic church over accusations American Theodore McCarrick sexually abused a teenager 50 years ago, a

North Koreans pay tribute to Kim's father in freezing cold

North Koreans pay tribute to Kim's father in freezing cold

AFP, Pyongyang :The Day of the Shining Star dawned bitterly cold in Pyongyang. But thousands of North Koreans lined up in temperatures of minus 8 degrees Celsius on Saturday to

French to mark three months of 'yellow vest' protests

French to mark three months of 'yellow vest' protests

Demonstrators are to hit French city streets again Saturday, marking three months of "yellow vest" protests as a poll now suggests that most of the country wants them to stop.The

News In Brief

Thousands of UK kids skip school for climate protestsAFP, LondonThousands of schoolchildren went on "strike" across Britain on Friday in a protest against climate change, with hundreds rallying in London's

Kosovars feel trapped in EU visa 'cage'

AFP, Pristina :Kosovars are increasingly vexed by the massive amount of time, money and paperwork needed to obtain visas to enter the European Union-a process not required of any

Trump heavier, but in ‘very good health’: Doctor

Trump heavier, but in ‘very good health’: Doctor

AFP, Washington :President Donald Trump is a little heavier than last year and needs a higher dose of cholesterol medicine, but remains in "very good health," his official doctor

Political deadlock beckons as Spain's PM calls April election

Political deadlock beckons as Spain's PM calls April election

Reuters, Madrid : Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called a snap national election for April 28 on Friday after parliament voted down his budget bill, spelling an uncertain few months

Maduro reveals secret meetings with US envoy

Maduro reveals secret meetings with US envoy

AP, Caracas, Venezuela :A month into Venezuela's high-stakes political crisis, President Nicolas Maduro revealed in an AP interview that his government held secret talks with the Trump administration and