Schulz ready for tense talks with Merkel

2017-12-01 22:08
Martin Schulz, Chair and chancellor candidate of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) poses in front of the Reichstag building that hosts Germany's Bundestag lower house of parliament. (Jörg Carstensen , dpa  via AFP)

Martin Schulz, Chair and chancellor candidate of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) poses in front of the Reichstag building that hosts Germany's Bundestag lower house of parliament. (Jörg Carstensen , dpa via AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Berlin - Chancellor Angela Merkel and Social Democrat chief Martin Schulz said Friday they are ready to start talks on ending Germany's political deadlock, although they may not share the same idea on what shape any future co-operation would take.

Firmly denying that an agreement had been reached on opening negotiations on a grand right-left coalition, Schulz said that all options remained on the table.

Merkel's party stressed however that was it was seeking is a renewal of its alliance with the SPD, to form a "stable government" for Europe's biggest economy.

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.

But it came under pressure to relent and head off fresh elections after Merkel's bid to form a coalition with the ecologist Greens and pro-business FDP fell apart last month.

Following first talks with Merkel late on Thursday, Schulz said he would recommend that the SPD begin formal discussions with her conservatives but firmly denied a media report this meant he was committing to joining a new government.

A different Europe

Schulz said he had telephoned the CDU leader to say that any such claims from her conservatives to the media would be viewed as "a breach of trust".

"We have several options for forming a government," he said. "We should discuss all of these options and that is what I will recommend to the party leadership Monday."

The SPD's top brass will then present their recommendation to party rank and file during their congress from Thursday.

"It doesn't automatically mean a grand coalition, we have time and we will also discuss other possible options during the SPD party congress," said Schulz.

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.

"We need a different Europe and the initiatives that the French president has suggested should not be given a 'no' from Berlin or left unanswered," he said, referring to Macron's ideas of creating a new eurozone finance minister position and giving the 19-member zone its own budget.

Fierce opposition

The meeting of the SPD's rank and file next Thursday will be a key date as Germany anxiously awaits signs of its next government.

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.

A rebellion is already brewing over entering into a new grand coalition, known as "GroKo" in German.

Leading the opposition is the SPD's youth wing, which on Friday launched an internet campaign with a motto "#NoGroKo -- for a clear and credible SPD".

"If motions for the formation of a grand coalition are filed at the party congress, they will be met with our fierce opposition," vowed the youth-wing's chief Kevin Kuehnert, in an interview with the RND newspaper group.

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

Other possible options for the SPD include backing a minority government led by Merkel, and Schulz himself had sent a tweet saying that "it is possible that the country ends up with a constellation that it has never seen in its (post-war) history".

But that is something that Merkel is hoping to avoid.

On Friday, her party reiterated that stance, with the CDU's Klaus Schueler saying after a telephone conference of the party leadership: "The CDU is ready to hold serious talks with the SPD to build a stable government."

Read more on:    angela merkel  |  germany

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.