Merkel allies try to appease fuming SPD ahead of German coalition talks

Merkel allies try to appease fuming SPD ahead of German coalition talks

The interview was published as Mr Schulz denied reports that his party was ready to enter negotiations of forming a new coalition on Friday, and accused Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) of leaking false information to the media. "That's exactly what I will propose to the party leadership on Monday", Schulz said.

Although Merkel's bloc is still the biggest group in the parliament, it needs the support of either the SPD, which is the second largest group in Bundestag, or two smaller parties to form a government.

Merkel is casting around for a coalition partner after her center-right bloc shed support to the far right in a September 24 election and her attempts to form a three-way tie-up with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens failed.

After suffering its worst ever general election result, the SPD declared it would not reprise its role as junior partner to Merkel and wanted instead to rebuild in opposition.

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At the same time, the SPD chief began naming his conditions, stressing in particular that he wants Germany to back French President Emmanuel Macron's initiative to reform the European Union.

In a Facebook Live appearance, Schulz mentioned other possible options for the next government, including a minority administration and a coalition that would include the conservatives, the SPD and the Greens.

Ahead of that congress, which will also decide whether to re-elect Schulz as chief of the SPD, the party's top brass has been careful to tread softly regarding its options.

"It's not automatic that there will be a new grand coalition", Schulz told reporters in Berlin. French President Emmanuel Macron has offered some important ideas: a European finance minister; Eurobonds to finance a new European investment program; more emphasis on innovation; a financial transactions tax to fund increased aid to Africa, where Europe has a strategic interest in long-term development; and tax harmonization more generally, before the USA triggers a global race to the bottom on taxing corporations and the rich.

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