Friday

25th May 2018

Merkel defends her coalition government

  • Merkel: "The four years are what I have promised. And I belong to those people who keep their promises" (Photo: European People's Party)

German chancellor Angela Merkel defended her coalition government on Sunday (11 February) in the face of criticism from her own christian-democrat party (CDU/CSU) and division between social-democrats (SPD).

In a TV interview, she admitted that granting the finance ministry, one of the most influential portfolios, to the social-democrats was "painful" for her party. But she said that it was an "acceptable" price to pay to form a government.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"I have to ask myself what is responsible," she said, insisting that Germany could not afford coalition talks to fail a second time since the elections last September.

Merkel - who, after weak elections results, struggled to form a government, first with the liberals and Greens and then with the social-democrats - denied that she was losing authority.

She said that she wanted to be chancellor until the end of the legislature in 2021.

"The four years are what I have promised. And I belong to those people who keep their promises," she said.

While the coalition agreement reached last week was welcomed with relief across the EU, the setting up of the new government is still under threat in Germany.

Some in the CDU have suggested that Merkel should start preparing her departure from power, and calls for a renewal will be discussed at the party congress, on 26 February, when delegates will have to endorse the coalition.

On Sunday, Merkel insisted that she would remain party leader as long as she is chancellor. She explained that both positions "go hand in hand, in order to be able to lead a stable government."

She said, however, that the party needed to "show that we can start with a new team," and she promised that "not only the over-60s are considered [for ministers] but also younger people."

Meanwhile, the SPD is debating whether to accept entering a new coalition with the CDU, after the previous one, lasting until last year, led to the party's worst electoral result.

On Friday, SPD party leader Martin Schulz renounced taking the foreign affairs ministry. He was criticised for accepting a coalition and a position in it, after having said for months that he would refuse both.

He said he hoped that his withdrawal would "put an end to the personnel debate within the SPD," and help party members to endorse the coalition, in a vote planned on 3-4 March.

But the lead figure against the coalition agreement in the party, SPD youth wing leader Kevin Kuehnart, insisted over the weekend that the problem was political, and not only about people.

In her Sunday TV interview, Merkel tried to downplay concerns that the SPD would reject the coalition.

She said that, for her, the agreement with the social-democrats was "fixed".

German coalition talks drag on

Christian Democrats and Social Democrats were still negotiating in the early hours of Wednesday. But the already agreed chapter on Europe is the "most Europeanised approach for years", says one expert.

German 'GroKo' now in SPD's hands

The result of the Social Democrats members' vote on a new grand coalition with Merkel's Christian Democrats will be known on Sunday. A 'Yes' is expected across Europe.

Call for 'neutral' government fails to end Italy's deadlock

The leaders of the two main political parties want elections in July, despite fears of low turnout and prolonging the uncertainty. EU officials are worried that a prolonged political uncertainty would further weaken the Italian economy.

Opinion

Erdogan and the Queen

Images of Erdogan being greeted by the Queen will be beamed to Turkish households, a sure boost for Erdogan's bid to make his way back to his own presidential palace in Ankara after next month's elections.

Opinion

The populists may have won, but Italy won't leave the euro

The situation as Rome tries to form a government is turbulent and unpredictable. However, the most extreme eurosceptic policies floated during the election campaign are unlikely to happen - not least due to the precarious state of the Italian banks.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach