Angela Merkel′s conservatives to hold exploratory Grand Coalition talks with Social Democrats in January | News | DW | 20.12.2017
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Angela Merkel's conservatives to hold exploratory Grand Coalition talks with Social Democrats in January

Angela Merkel's conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats have agreed to start talks on forming a government on January 7. The exploratory talks should end by January 12, they said in a joint statement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), their Bavarian sister-party the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) announced on Wednesday that they will start exploratory coalition talks in early January.

The heads of the CDU/CSU and the SPD said in a joint statement that they will meet to begin talks on January 7 and are hoping for a quick finish the exploratory talks just a few days later on January 12.

Read moreGerman business confidence dips on political impasse

In their statement, which came after seven hours of talks in Berlin, said discussions had been conducted in a "trusting atmosphere"

The results of the exploratory talks will then be discussed within each their parliamentary parties and among the parties' respective boards and Merkel's CDU said on Twitter.

The CDU outlined 15 different topic areas that will be discussed between Merkel, SPD leader Martin Schulz and CSU head Horst Seehofer, including finances/taxes, energy, family, migration/integration, Europe and the labor market. 

Record-breaking coalition talks

Last Friday, Schulz announced that the parties had agreed to start preliminary talks although the SPD carefully noted that it wanted to keep open the possibility of a softer "cooperative coalition," while the CDU is mainly interested in forming a grand coalition.

Merkel was left looking for a new coalition partnership with the SPD after the collapse of lengthy exploratory coalition talks with her conservatives and the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) and the environmental Green paty.

To date, the longest Germany has gone without a ruling government coalition was the 86 days that the CDU, CSU and SPD needed to agree to a grand coalition under Merkel's leadership in 2013. The current talks have now surpassed that record.

rs/rc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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