Top German conservative urges SPD to speed up coalition talks

Top German conservative urges SPD to speed up coalition talks

Top German conservative urges SPD to speed up coalition talks

But Schulz is in a bind partly of his own making: He needs to deliver on a pledge to SPD delegates on Sunday to wring concessions out of Merkel - a mission made tougher by waning support for his party and questions about his role.

That was a narrower margin than many analysts had predicted and could embolden the SPD's leaders to negotiate harder in talks.

SPD secretary general Lars Klingbeil told Berlin-based radio station rbb that such a date had not yet been set.

He said the SPD wanted to add a "hardship provision" to an agreement on immigration that limits to 1,000 a month the number of people who can join accepted refugees in Germany under family reunion rules.

Eyeing a fourth term as chancellor, Merkel wants the SPD to agree to a re-run of the "grand coalition" that has governed Europe's economic powerhouse since 2013.

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The stakes are high because Mr Schulz has promised that the SPD's 443,000 members will be allowed to vote on a final deal.

She said she looked forward to intensive talks on forming a stable government and her priorities were preserving Germany's economic strength and ensuring social justice and security.

Germany has been gripped by political deadlock since a September 24 national election.

A tired Mr Schulz, whose leadership was in play on Sunday, told reporters on Monday that he aimed to build a government that "improved the lives of the people in this country, but also meets Germany's global commitments, especially with regard to the (European Union) and the unity of Europe".

Mr Volker Kauder, who leads the conservatives in Parliament, rejected calls by the embattled leader of the centre-left SPD Martin Schulz to revisit key issues already agreed in a coalition blueprint.

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"We shouldn't even talk about improvements".

"Coalition negotiations between the CDU/CSU and the SPD need to start quickly", he told daily Bild.

Specifically, Merkel called on more actions on digitalisation rather than "debating philosophical issues", saying that it was too slow in European Union to decide how to deal with big data, which has made Europe lag behind.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the philosophy of isolation and protectionism in addressing common challenges worldwide here on Wednesday.

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