Germany's Schulz wants 'United States of Europe' by 2025

Germany's Schulz wants 'United States of Europe' by 2025

Germany's Schulz wants 'United States of Europe' by 2025

With that in mind, Martin Schulz told a party congress that he wants the European Union to agree to a new constitutional treaty which creates a federal Europe, which can act together in policy in areas including domestic and foreign security, tax and monetary affairs and asylum and global development.

The former European Parliament president called for a eurozone budget to boost investment and growth in Europe, and a European finance minister who would curb "tax dumping".

Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz speaks during an SPD party convention in Berlin, Germany, November 7, 2017.

The Social Democrats have been part of Germany's government for 15 of the past 19 years - twice joining a "grand coalition" under Merkel, from 2005 to 2009 and again from 2013 until now.

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The drafting process of such a constitutional treaty, Schulz said, should involve citizens across the Continent. "It is the only chance we have to keep up with the other great regions of the world".

He argued that only a strengthened European Union would stop the advance of right-wing nationalists, citing gains they had made in Germany as well as Austria, Denmark, Finland, France and the Netherlands.

He also refused to join a new coalition after Merkel's talks with two smaller parties collapsed last month.

Schulz has said any decision would first have to be put to the party's rank and file in a vote, meaning that any exploratory talks could not begin before January, and any grand coalition that was agreed on would not be likely to come together before Easter.

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Some members - including the party's youth wing - want to specifically rule out another coalition with Merkel's Union bloc, leaving only a minority government or a new election as options.

Schulz became the SPD's top candidate a year ago when the party's poll ratings briefly shot up some 10 percentage points.

Schulz apologised for the poor result but said he could not "turn back the clock", vowing to drive a rejuvenation of the SPD so "we can do a better job". Later on Thursday, SPD delegates are set to vote on a motion submitted by the party's leadership laying out the prerequisites to enter negotiations with the chancellor.

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