Crucial German coalition talks come to a head


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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) Martin Schulz have admitted that there remain several hurdles on the final day of exploratory talks to form a “grand coalition” (Reuters).

Merkel whose position was weakened in September after an inconclusive result in the German elections said: “Of course we also have in mind that we have to create a good policy platform for our country. So it’s going to be a tough day” (Reuters). The so-called “Jamaica coalition” Merkel previously sought to form in November broke down following policy differences on migration and energy (Guardian).

It is thought that talks with the SPD, an attempt to revive the “grand coalition” that controlled Germany’s last parliament, represent the Chancellor’s last chance at forming a stable government (Politico).

Both Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the left-leaning SPD have described the exploratory talks in a positive light, but there are a number of key areas of potential disagreement such as on migration, taxation and Europe, according to Politico.  If successful, the talks could lead to formal negotiations with an SPD vote for party members as soon as January 21 (Reuters).

Should the two largest parties fail to come to an agreement, Merkel could either try and form a minority government, or Germany could face fresh elections (Reuters).

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