Thursday, January 11, 2018

Europe at stake in German coalition talks: president tells negotiators

BERLIN (Reuters) - German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday reminded would-be coalition partners about the high stakes involved - and their responsibility for Europe - as negotiators worked through a tough final evening of talks about forming a new government.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her conservatives still had high hurdles to clear in Thursday’s talks on whether to launch formal negotiations about a new coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD), who are pressing for accelerated integration of European Union states.

Merkel, weakened by an election setback in September, turned to the left-leaning SPD to renew the so-called “grand coalition” that ruled for two of her three previous terms, after her talks with two smaller parties collapsed in November.

Steinmeier, who is pressing both sides to reach a deal, told foreign diplomats in Berlin the delay in forming a government was unprecedented, but the German constitution provided clear rules for the situation, and everyone was taking it seriously.

“Those who bear responsibility in the institutions and parties ... know that they have this responsibility not only towards the members of their own party and their own political future. Rather, it is always also a responsibility for Europe, and for reliability, partnership and engagement in international politics,” he said. - Reuters

Europe at stake in German coalition talks: president tells negotiators


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