German SPD's Schulz optimistic membership will back coalition

  • German SPD's Schulz optimistic membership will back coalition

German SPD's Schulz optimistic membership will back coalition

Reporting that the SPD will take the foreign, finance and labor ministries in a new government, Bild newspaper said that the CDU will get the economy and defense portfolios.

Negotiators ended their meeting in the SPD party headquarters and agreed to resume talks - initially expected to conclude on Sunday - at the party headquarters of Merkel's conservatives in Berlin on Tuesday.

Germany's effort to put together a governing coalition after its September 24 election is already its longest since World War II.

Any deal is subject to approval by the SPD's 464,000 members in a postal ballot.

The SPD has sought to drive up the price for a new deal, which it must still sell to its 440,000 members who will vote on the pact in a yes-or-no referendum.

Mr Schulz vehemently rejected the idea of another grand coalition immediately after the September election, but changed his mind after the breakdown of Ms Merkel's earlier attempts to form a coalition with the left-leaning Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats. With SPD leader Martin Schulz, a former president of the European Parliament, reported to be headed for the foreign ministry, Germany could become more amenable to proposals for strengthening E.U. institutions and the euro - to the delight of French President Emmanuel Macron.

The two largest parties in Germany reached a coalition agreement on Wednesday.

A Social Democrat finance ministry - replacing pro-austerity Wolfgang Schäuble - is more likely to go along with French President Macron's ambitious plans for European Union reform, by allowing more German support for struggling eurozone economies.

"I'm completely happy with the coalition agreement", European Union finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici told journalists in Brussels.

SPD chief Martin Schulz said there was "good reason to believe that we'll reach the end today".

Sahra Wagenknecht, the chairperson of the Left faction in the Bundestag, expressed her disappointment with the results of the coalition talks between the CDU / CSU and the SPD: "The Christian Democrats and Socialists have not decided on imposing a tax on the super-rich and corporations, there will be not enough money for the necessary investments". Also, the leaders of the German Liberal Democratic Party have repeatedly warned the Social Democrats not get engaged in negotiations with Merkel and the Christian Democrats, because the alliance of the Christian parties don't keep their word.

However, millions across Germany and Europe will need more convincing about Mrs Merkel's pledges after her CDU party was forced to make huge concessions to their europhile coalition partners, including handing over the crucial finance ministry.

By Monday night, however, two points that are important to the Social Democrats still had not been worked out: curbing the use of temporary work contracts and trying to narrow differences between Germany's public and private health insurance systems.

The finance ministry has been attributed to the SPD, with Hamburg's mayor Olaf Schorf being the favourite for the post, also as vice-chancellor.