Monday, September 24, 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

World leaders gather at UN under threat from unilateralism

World leaders gather at UN under threat from unilateralism

AP, United Nations :With rising unilateralism challenging its very existence, the United Nations convenes its annual meeting of world leaders Monday and will try once more to tackle problems together

Israel gives Bedouin villagers until end of month to leave

Israel gives Bedouin villagers until end of month to leave

AFP, Jerusalem :Israeli authorities issued a notice to residents of a Bedouin village in a strategic spot in the occupied West Bank on Sunday informing them they have until the

Iran's President blames US after attack on military parade

Iran's President blames US after attack on military parade

AP, Tehran :Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that an unnamed U.S.-allied country in the Persian Gulf was behind an attack on a military parade that killed 25 people and

Modi faces calls for resignation over French jet deal

Modi faces calls for resignation over French jet deal

Reuters, New delhi :Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced calls for his resignation over allegations of corruption in a military jet deal with France after former French president Francois Hollande

US official in Russia probe suggested taping Trump: Report

US official in Russia probe suggested taping Trump: Report

Reuters, Washington: The US official who oversees the federal investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump last year and recruiting Cabinet members

New bombshell revives debate on Trump fitness for office

New bombshell revives debate on Trump fitness for office

Donald Trump faced a new challenge to his authority Friday after US media reported that his deputy attorney general had discussed ways to force him from office on grounds of

India calls off foreign ministers' meeting with Pakistan

India calls off foreign ministers' meeting with Pakistan

AP, New Delhi :India called off a planned meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session in New York this

Pope to honour Baltic martyrs amid abuse crisis

Pope to honour Baltic martyrs amid abuse crisis

AP, Lithuania :Russia will be the elephant in the room as Pope Francis begins a four-day visit to the Baltics amid renewed alarm about Moscow's intentions in the region it

News in brief

Canada hosts first meeting of Women FMsAFP, Montreal Women foreign ministers from around the world kicked off a first-of-its-kind meeting on Friday, bringing together more than half of the world's

US-North Korea relations making 'tremendous progress': Trump

US-North Korea relations making 'tremendous progress': Trump

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said US relations with North Korea are making "tremendous progress" from the days before his presidency when the two countries appeared close to "going to