Schulz ready for tense talks with Merkel


Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader on Friday denied media reports that claimed his party was ready to enter coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Conservatives.

In a Facebook Live appearance, Schulz mentioned other possible options for the next government, including a minority administration and a coalition that would include the conservatives, the SPD and the Greens.

Schulz, Merkel and CSU leader Horst Seehofer on Thursday night held a meeting with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is trying his best to make Germany avoid snap elections - an occurrence if no new government can be formed.

Opinion surveys suggest that the SPD rank-and-file have decidedly mixed feeling about a new edition of the grand coalition, and the party's youth organization, the Jusos, are dead set against it.

The chairman said the SPD's executive committee would discuss various options on Monday, and make a proposal which would be discussed at SPD's party conference from December 7 to 9 in Berlin.

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

Malu Dreyer, an SPD member and premier of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, said she was sceptical the SPD could agree a "convincing, substantive proposal" with conservatives.

Firmly denying that an agreement had been reached on opening negotiations on a grand right-left coalition, Schulz said that all options remained on the table.

"We have many options for forming a government. That's exactly what I will propose to the party leadership on Monday", Schulz said.

The SPD's top brass will then present their recommendation to party rank and file during their congress from Thursday.

After the party convention of the SPD in the coming week, the CDU will discuss the way forward, according to Klaus Schueler, federal manager of the CDU.

According to Schulz, the key demands of his party are a need to reform the European Union, improve healthcare, as well as the European Union and answer French President Emmanuel Macron's Eurozone reform proposals positively.

"Germany's European politics must change", Mr Schulz, a former president of the European parliament, told the magazine.