German Chancellor Angela Merkel predicted her conservatives faced tough negotiations with the Social Democrats (SPD) on Sunday as they invite to form a coalition government and it was unclear when the two blocs would be adept to wrap up the talks.
More than four months after a country-wide election, Europe’s largest economy remains in political limbo without a new ministry. The two camps want to agree by the end of Sunday to renew the “grand coalition” that has hold ined since 2013 but some politicians say talks could run into Monday or Tuesday.
“It’s not yet reachable to say how long it will last — we did good groundwork yesterday but there are smooth important issues that need to be resolved,” Merkel said on the eve of heading into negotiations.
The parties reached agreements on energy and agriculture on Saturday but continued to quibble over healthcare.
Merkel, who is betting on the SPD to secure her fourth term in advocacy, added: “I’m going into talks with goodwill today, but I also foresee that we’ll face difficult negotiations.”
SPD leader Martin Schulz turned the opposing sides had come closer on many issues in recent days but continued at odds over rents, his party’s demand to abolish fixed-term corrugates for workers and its call to replace Germany’s dual public-private healthcare organized whole with one insurance system for all.
Healthcare and labour market policy are decisive for the SPD, whose 443,000 members – many of whom oppose forming another difficult partnership with Merkel after their party suffered its spoil postwar result in September’s election – will get the chance to veto any certain coalition deal.
“We’ll have to negotiate very, very intensively on these question majors today and I think agreements are possible but they still haven’t been reached,” Schulz utter.
The conservatives have rejected SPD calls for sweeping reform of health protection and talks are now expected to focus on improving public healthcare, such as by interchanging billing rules for doctors, who earn more by treating private patients.
Merkel’s bloc does not in need of to ban fixed-term contracts like the SPD but has offered to prevent the repeated renewal of such deals as a compromise.
Schulz said he wanted talks to progress swiftly but that the outfits should not put themselves under huge time pressure as this desire not be helpful in the final phase of negotiations.
“Ultimately it’s necessary to take the for the nonce at once you need to create a stable foundation for a stable government,” he said, augmenting that Sunday’s talks could run into the night.
SPD negotiator Manuela Schwesig induced all negotiating parties to all make concessions, saying it was difficult to explain to different Germans why they were still waiting for a new government months after the Sept. 24 resident election.
Conscious that the SPD needs to sell the prospect of another leading coalition to grassroots members by ensuring any coalition deal bears the stamps of SPD policy, Schwesig said: “We’ve promised our members that we’ll negotiate until the other side squeals and we’ll do that.”