Sunday

19th Feb 2017

Grand coalition is only option for Merkel

  • Merkel still has tough talks ahead (Photo: Felix O)

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats is set for a new round of exploratory talks with the Social Democrats on Thursday (17 October) with a formal request to form a coalition government expected soon afterwards

A grand coalition is now the only option on the table after the Greens earlier this week announced they would stay in opposition saying the differences with Merkel's party are too great 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.

The introduction of a minimum wage in all sectors of the economy is a key demand of the Social Democrats (SPD).

So far Merkel has opposed the idea, but on Wednesday the leader of her Bavarian sister party, Horst Seehofer, indicated that a compromise can be worked out.

In an interview with Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Seehofer said he is ready to accept a €8.5/hour minimum wage as long as the SPD drops its other demands for higher taxes and is "flexible" about the deadline for the introduction of the minimum wage.

"For me it's crucial: No tax increases and no new debt. This is very important for economic growth and for jobs," Seehofer said.

A compromise on the minimum wage may be enough of a precondition for the Social Democrats to agree at a party congress on Sunday to enter into real coalition talks with Merkel.

The new parliament will have its first session next week, with Merkel's outgoing cabinet entering into caretaker mode afterwards.

There is no legal deadline for a new government to be formed, with SPD deputy Andrea Nahles suggesting talks could drag on until January.

Finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, however, who is tipped to become foreign minister if the SPD gets the finance ministry, said he is confident a new government will be in place by next month.

"I think we will have a coalition by mid-November," he said last weekend while in Washington.

MEPs set to approve Canada trade deal

The European Parliament is expected to give the green light to the EU-Canada free trade agreement, which would start being implemented in April.

EU leaders to discuss migration, in Trump's shadow

New US president Trump overshadows the Malta summit of EU leaders on Friday, as they discuss the bloc's future amid new geopolitical realities, and step up efforts to stop migration via Libya from North African countries.

News in Brief

  1. Migrants storm Spanish enclave of Ceuta
  2. Spain's princess fined for tax fraud, husband sentenced
  3. EU to invest millions in energy infrastructure
  4. Dutch data watchdog forces online vote aides to up security
  5. EU allows Lithuania to ban Russian tv channel
  6. Finland announces increase in defence spending
  7. Ex-PM Blair says Brits should 'rise up' against Brexit
  8. Nato chief says facts to prevail over fake news

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  4. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  5. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  7. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  8. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  9. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"
  10. CISPECloud Computing Leaders Establish Data Protection Standards to Protect Customer Data
  11. Malta EU 2017Landmark Deal Reached With European Parliament on Portability of Online Content
  12. Belgrade Security ForumBSF 2017: Building a Common Future in the Age of Uncertainty