German Social Democrats agree to hold Merkel coalition talks

Frederick Owens
December 9, 2017

Schulz told Thursday's previously scheduled congress that the leadership's plan for talks, which he hopes to start next week, "takes no option off the table" and wouldn't automatically lead to a coalition.

"We don't want to govern at any price", Schulz said.

The leader of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) took aim at USA technology firms Apple, Facebook and Google on Thursday, saying a strong Europe was needed to make sure they stick to the rules.

He said the renewal of the SPD can not be placed above the interests of the nation.

The drafting process of such a constitutional treaty, Schulz said, should involve citizens across the Continent.

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The SPD leader also called for stronger social security for workers in the digital services economy, increased investment in academic and vocational education, and binding green energy targets.

Merkel gave a skeptical response when asked at a separate event in Berlin about Schulz' push for a federalized Europe.

Schulz on Thursday apologised for presiding over his party's worst result since the second world war; in September elections the SPD were well beaten by the CDU.

SPD leader Martin Schulz, who initially said the party would go into Opposition after seeing its time in the last Merkel-led "grand coalition" rewarded with bruising losses at the polls, must now convince his party to reverse that decision.

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