Published: Sat, December 02, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Germany's SPD: No decision on entering coalition talks

Germany's SPD: No decision on entering coalition talks

Martin Schulz, the leader of the rival Social Democrats (SPD), told an interview with Spiegel magazine he would insist on deeper integration as a condition of joining any new government under Mrs Merkel.

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. He said Social Democrat (SPD) leaders would make a proposal on Monday on how to proceed.

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.

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

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"I can clearly deny the report about me having given the green light for grand coalition talks".

He added that whoever circulated such reports was damaging trust.

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.

"We have many options for forming a government".

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Commenting on the SDP's possible coalition with the Conservatives, Schulz has stated that it is not "automatic", adding that the party would discuss alternatives at a meeting next week.

"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.

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.

"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.

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"A positive response to Emmanuel Macron will be a key demand in any negotiation with the SPD".

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