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Coalition with Merkel not automatic, all options open: Germany's SPD

02 December 2017

Although Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) on Friday denied media reports that it has agreed to enter into formal coalition talks with Merkel's CDU/CSU, the party has begun formulating conditions which must be met for their party to help form another "grand coalition" again.

According to Schulz, the key demands of his party are a need to reform the European Union, improve healthcare, as well as the European Union and answer French President Emmanuel Macron's Eurozone reform proposals positively. "That's exactly what I will propose to the party leadership on Monday", Schulz said. Merkel's conservative bloc and the SPD lost support in that vote, while an anti-immigrant party surged into parliament, seriously complicating the coalition arithmetic.

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.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a press conference
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a press conference

However the SPD is wary of continuing as a junior partner to Merkel since it suffered its worst result ever in September's election.

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

The SPD will hold a party congress in Berlin on December 7-9, where it is expected to debate its options. "And the initiatives the French president has taken must not be answered with a constant "no" or with silence from Berlin", he said.

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Germany's Bild newspaper and the news agencies Reuters and DPA reported earlier on Friday that a deal had been reached to pursue the grand coalition option.

Schulz also said he wants changes in Germany's approach to the European Union. But for the SPD the situation isn't almost as clear.

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".

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"There was a broad consensus about not closing down any options concerning the formation of a new government", Schulz told reporters.

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Coalition with Merkel not automatic, all options open: Germany's SPD