The German Social Democrats (SPD) entered negotiations for the formation of a third grand coalition government on Monday.
For Chancellor Angela Merkel this is the last cabinet she leads, having been at the helm of Germany since 2005. Following elections in September, negotiations between Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), their historical partners – the Liberal (FDP) – and the Greens have failed.
For the CDU, the price of negotiating with SPD will be a more decisive move to the left. The SPD is demanding that the CDU abandons xenophobic policies advocated by their ultra-conservative Bavarian (CSU), such as to put a limit on the number of asylum seekers Germany will accept each year.
Schultz also demanded on Monday a more open policy towards family reunification, but also concessions on social rights and environmental protection. He also advocated working closer with France to fight youth unemployment and boosting European integration.
SPD’s leader and former President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, was reluctant to join another grand coalition but succumbed to pressure from high-ranking members of the party. On September 24, the SPD fared the worst electoral result in decades, largely by alienating its traditional left wing base.
Meanwhile, the Bavarian Prime Minister, Horst Seehofer, is accusing Angela Merkel of pushing the CDU to the left.