Tuesday

27th Feb 2024

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

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

Opinion

For Ukraine's sake, pass the EU due diligence directive

The EU Commission's 2022 CSDDD proposal did not include provisions incorporating "conflict due diligence", they were added, after the Russian invasion, by the European Parliament and Council into the final directive text — for Ukraine's sake, vote for it.

Opinion

For Ukraine's sake, pass the EU due diligence directive

The EU Commission's 2022 CSDDD proposal did not include provisions incorporating "conflict due diligence", they were added, after the Russian invasion, by the European Parliament and Council into the final directive text — for Ukraine's sake, vote for it.

Latest News

  1. For Ukraine's sake, pass the EU due diligence directive
  2. All of Orbán's MPs back Sweden's Nato entry
  3. India makes first objection to EU carbon levy at WTO summit
  4. Angry farmers block Brussels again, urge fix to 'unfair' prices
  5. Luxembourg denies blind spot on Nato security vetting
  6. Record rate-profits sees EU banks give shareholders €120bn
  7. Why the EU silence on why Orban's €10bn was unblocked?
  8. Far-right MEPs least disciplined in following party line

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us