Wednesday

17th Jul 2019

German coalition talks in near collapse

  • Forming a 'Jamaica' coalition with liberals and Greens is 'a very complicated task,' Merkel admitted. (Photo: European People's Party)

Talks to form a coalition government in Germany were in deadlock on Friday morning (17 November), after negotiators separated early morning without a deal in sight.


A new, last chance meeting was due at midday on Friday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

But wide differences remained on migration, climate and energy and finance policies between the four parties involved in the so-called Jamaica coalition, because their colours echo the Caribbean country's flag: the centre-right CDU and its Bavarian branch CSU, the liberal FDP, and the Greens.

"We need some sleep," said Green leader Simone Peter after the overnight 15-hour discussion.

"Good morning, today it continues," chancellor Angela Merkel simply said.

On Thursday, Merkel had warned that forming a coalition between parties that have never worked together at the federal level was "a very complicated task".

She will not attend the EU social summit in Gothenburg on Friday, in order to salvage the negotiations and avoid a failure that could lead to risky new elections.

The talks started on 20 October, following the 24 September elections. The Social Democrats, Merkel's previous coalition partners, decided not to participate to a new government after a resounding defeat. Merkel had set 16 November as a deadline for exploratory talks.

"I don't know if we can resolve all the discrepancies, all the disagreements," CSU's Joachim Herrmann said on Thursday.

Merkel in particular will have to design a compromise on migration between the CSU, the most conservative part of her Christian-Democrat camp, and the Greens.

The Greens reject a yearly 200,000 cap on asylum seekers, which is one of the CSU's main demands. The CSU also demand that a ban on family reunification for refugees, which was introduced in 2016, is not renewed when it is due to end in February next year.

Juergen Trittin, one of the Green negotiators, gave a hint of the tone of the discussions when he posted on Twitter a song by Jamaican singer Jimmy Cliff saying "the harder they come, the harder they fall."

"We cannot accept a solution that will result in an increase in immigration," CSU leader Horst Seehofer said on Friday morning.

He assured that his party would do "whatever is humanly possible to see wether a stable government is possible."

Climate and energy remained another blocking point, with the Greens asking for the closure of the most polluting coal power stations.

Merkel has proposed to reduce the capacity of coal stations, by 7 gigawatts (GW) by 2020, instead of 5 GW as proposed earlier by the CDU/CSU and FDP, but the Greens insist on a 10 GW reduction.

The FDP and the Greens are also at opposing ends over the so-called solidarity tax, a 5.5 percent tax on incomes, capitals and companies. The end of the tax is a core FDP demand, which the Greens reject.

More generally, the four parties' various demands would cost over €100 billion, while only €45 billion are on the table, making the overall discussions more difficult.

"I'm extremely frustrated," FDP vice-president Wolfgang Kubicki said at the end for the talks.

"It is better to clarify things before the end of the negotiations than after. So one spares oneself much anger and much conflict," noted Peter Altmaier, the acting finance minister and Merkel's closest ally.

Analysis

Merkel's win heralds uncertain time

On Sunday, Germans elected Angela Merkel for her fourth term in office. However, she may be facing her most difficult period yet as chancellor.

Merkel survives election 'earthquake'

Christian-democrat leader set to rule Germany together with liberals and greens, but with a new troublemaker - the AfD party - on the scene.

German coalition talks collapse

The liberal Free Democratic Party pulled out of coalition talks late Sunday night, saying it is 'better not to rule than to rule wrongly'. It is unclear what happens next.

Who is the new EU parliament president, David Sassoli?

The 63-year-old centre-left Italian MEP was elected president of the European Parliament, with 345 votes. A former journalist, Sassoli has experience as a vice-president of the parliament, but is little known.

Parliament outmanoeuvred in EU top-post game

The European Parliament on Tuesday lost a years-long power struggle, and gave up winning more influence on European politics via the so-called Spitzenkandidat process it had championed.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory
  2. Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts
  3. EU proposes yearly rule-of-law 'reviews'
  4. Poland 'optimistic' despite new EU law checks
  5. What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?
  6. Is Golden Dawn's MEP head of a criminal organisation?
  7. Finland rejects call to end sponsorship of EU presidency
  8. MH17 five years on: when will Russia be punished?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us