Germany's SPD's Schulz Says He Hasn't Given Green Light for Coalition

German economy growth

Merkel's expressed skepticism about the latter two possibilities, and following an appeal from President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Schulz agreed to meet with the chancellor and CSU leader Horst Seehofer on Thursday night to talk about the various possibilities. He said Social Democrat (SPD) leaders would make a proposal on Monday on how to proceed.

Contradicting a report by Bild newspaper, Schulz said the party leaders had not agreed to start talks on a new "grand coalition".

The SPD, which saw its participation in a Merkel-led coalition government from 2013-17 rewarded with its worst election result in German post-war history, had been strongly opposed to another "grand coalition". Her attempts to form a three-way tie-up with the pro-business Free Democratic party (FDP) and the Greens failed.

"Whoever circulates false reports destroys trust", he said.

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".

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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.

Merkel's camp said the ball was in the SPD's court. "The fact that we underlined today that we are prepared to enter such talks with the SPD shows that we're aiming to bring these talks to a successful conclusion".

Friends of Germany and Europe around the world have been breathing a sigh of relief at the newfound willingness of Germany's Christian Democrats and Social Democrats (SPD) to discuss reprising their grand coalition government.

SPD leader Martin Schulz told Spiegel magazine that he would insist on a far-reaching reform of the European Union (EU) and German social policy. "And the initiatives the French president has taken must not be answered with a constant "no" or with silence from Berlin", he said.

"It's not automatic that there will be a new grand coalition", Schulz told reporters in Berlin.

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