Germany′s Angela Merkel says ′serious differences′ remain in coalition talks | News | DW | 02.02.2018
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Germany's Angela Merkel says 'serious differences' remain in coalition talks

The German chancellor has signaled her party's "good will" to overcome differences in coalition talks. The SPD wants to expand labor and health care rights, but Merkel's conservatives view the measures as costly.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday said there "is still a whole range of very serious differences" that must be overcome before forming a new government.

Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) are locked in talks aimed at creating a "grand coalition" government after last year's inconclusive general election.

"I hope we will succeed but the problems are, as I said, not yet resolved," Merkel said. "We have good will to overcome them, but there is still a lot of work ahead of us."

Read more: Germany split on prospect of Merkel's fourth term as chancellor

Differences on labor

One of the differences concerns labor policy. The SPD is seeking to expand labor rights by giving employees the right to move between full-time and part-time work in the event they must care for children or elderly parents.

However, the CDU and CSU have expressed reservations, saying it would be a costly measure.

SPD leader Martin Schulz said he would not allow a Sunday deadline to pressure him into accepting a hasty agreement that doesn't advance his party's agenda.

Read more: Martin Schulz, leader of Germany's Social Democrats, in a bind

"Thoroughness must come before speed," said Schulz.

The center-left party is hoping to make significant gains during negotiations in a bid to satisfy its voter base amid declining support.

SPD chief Martin Schulz is hoping to secure a deal that advances key policies of his center-left party

SPD chief Martin Schulz is hoping to secure a deal that advances key policies of his center-left party

Bridging health care gap

Horst Seehofer, who leads the CSU, the CDU's Bavarian sister party, said health insurance continues to divide the SPD and conservatives.

The SPD wants to close the gap between public and private health care access, saying the differences between policies should be minimized.

Read more: The major sticking points in Germany's upcoming coalition talks

What the parties agreed on Friday

  • A yearly limit of between 180,000 to 220,000 migrants per year
  • Creation of 15,000 new police jobs split between the federal government and the 16 states
  • Ability to revoke German citizenship for people with dual nationality who are convicted of terrorism abroad
  • More money for clinics and doctors in rural areas
  • Expansion of Germany's charging infrastructure for electric cars
  • Gradual abolition of the air traffic tax
  • More financial aid for families with children


Seehofer expressed optimism at the prospect of a new government formed by the three parties.

"I am convinced that we will manage to do it in the coming days," Seehofer said.

The CDU, CSU and SPD are set to resume talks on Saturday with an eye to concluding negotiations by Sunday.

The parties' leaders have agreed to a two-day grace period in the event they have yet to overcome key differences.

ls/sms (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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