Germany's SPD: No decision on entering coalition talks
02 December 2017, 12:37 | Isaac Mcdaniel
GettyAxel Schäfer hit out at Angela Merkel over her leadership on Europe
"The reports are plainly and simply wrong", said the SPD leader, Martin Schulz, after claims in the German newspaper Bild that the two parties had agreed to begin exploratory talks on a new coalition following a meeting with the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on Thursday.
Noting that his party and Merkel's bloc continue to govern as a caretaker government, he said "we have no time pressure" and would "not rule out any options".
The SPD, which had wanted to go into opposition to rebuild after suffering its worst post-World War Two election result, fears its distinctive identity and policy ideas will again be smothered in any tie-up with Merkel's bigger center-right bloc.
In a sign of the ongoing friction between Schulz and Merkel's bloc that may make negotiations hard, he blamed the Bild report on a leak from her side and said he had telephoned her Friday to say it was "unacceptable". "That's exactly what I will propose to the party leadership on Monday", Schulz said. We should talk about each of these options.
The SPD will hold a party congress in Berlin on December 7-9, where it is expected to debate its options.
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".
GettyMrs Merkel has been accused of trying to lead the whole of Europe from Germany
Mr Schulz and Mrs Merkel met on Thursday night to discuss a possible new coalition or SPD support for a minority government, and initial reports suggested the talks had gone well.
Merkel's camp said the ball was in the SPD's court. "We remain clear: the SPD's rejection of a continued grand coalition was mandatory and right", says the petition.
"Germany's European politics must change", Mr Schulz, a former president of the European parliament, told the magazine.
Martin Schulz insisted on Friday that various options for forming a government were still on the table.
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.
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