Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

German Social Democrats mull talks on new Merkel government

German Social Democrats mull talks on new Merkel government

"What are our possibilities, our options, our instruments for ensuring that Germany embraces these French ideas", Schulz said at an SPD conference in the party's Berlin headquarters.

Martin Schulz, who hopes to persuade his party to approve talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel on forming a new coalition, told a congress of his SPD party that Ireland was complicit in allowing companies such as Apple to avoid billions of euros in tax.

The party suffered historically poor election results after both Merkel coalitions, with support slumping to a post-war low of 20.5 percent in September.

Schulz only relented after Merkel's talks with two smaller parties collapsed just over two weeks ago, sparking heightened political uncertainty.

Over the next few days he will attempt to embolden members with a four-page manifesto of demands the SPD would take with it into any coalition talks.

"Europe is our life insurance", said Schulz.

The same appeal has come from Germany's president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a longtime party member, who encouraged Schulz to steer the party in the direction of government. Macron is also greatly dependent on Merkel's continuation in the role of chancellor if he is to have any solid support in the European Union for his economic reform agenda.

Ten weeks after inconclusive elections left German politics in a stalemate, Martin Schulz urged his divided centre-left SPD to vote in favour of launching open-ended talks that could lead them to join Merkel in another "grand coalition" or tolerate a minority government.

The Social Democrats have been part of Germany's government for 15 of the past 19 years - first leading a center-left government under Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder from 1998 to 2005, then twice governing in a "grand coalition" under Merkel, from 2005 to 2009 and again from 2013 until now.

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