SPD denies 'green light' for new German government, but keeps options open

Dec 02, 2017, 00:33
SPD denies 'green light' for new German government, but keeps options open

SPD representatives subsequently told press that Schulz informed German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Angela Merkel and CSU leader Horst Seehofer on Thursday that no coalition talks could take place prior to the upcoming SPD party conference next week.

"The decisive question is what do we want to implement, what can we implement - for example in the renewal of the European Union", Schulz said.

Schulz met with President Steinmeier on Thursday night as part of efforts to break the political crisis rocking Germany since Merkel's bid to form a coalition with two smaller parties 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.

He added that whoever circulated such reports was damaging trust. "We should discuss all of these options and that is what I will recommend to the party leadership Monday".

Merkel would have few problems getting her parliamentary group to go along with talks about extending their current collaboration with the Social Democrats, as there is broad consensus among conservatives that a grand coalition is the only way forward.

After September's election left the veteran leader without a majority and the SPD with a historic low score, the labour party firmly rejected ruling again Merkel's shadow.

Schulz insisted his party would continue to talk about all options, which could include tolerating a Merkel minority government, possibly in tandem with the Green party.

"It's now up to the SPD to provide clarity", said CDU manager Klaus Schueler.

In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine, Schulz said the SPD backed French President Emmanuel Macron's call for closer eurozone integration, including a new finance minister for the currency bloc - ideas that face resistance from conservatives.

"If necessary, we will put in a motion to rule out a grand coalition", he said.

"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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