Friday, 27 April, 2018

Martin Schulz: I won't be German foreign minister

German coalition deal reached Merkel's conservatives make big concessions to #SPD in coalition deal
Faye Gross | 11 February, 2018, 05:14

In a statement, Schulz said he believed that debate within the SPD risked jeopardising a "yes" vote among members on whether the party should go ahead with a coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, reached on Wednesday.

Martin Schulz was told by his SPD party members that they would not back the deal to form a government if he took the job. The paper cited Friedrich Merz, a former CDU rival whom Merkel sidelined after becoming party chairwoman in 2000, as saying the coalition deal was a "humiliation" for the Christian Democrats.

He had previously ruled out both repeating the "grand coalition" for a third time under Merkel, and serving as a minister in her cabinet.

The result of the SPD vote is expected to be announced on 4 March, with CDU delegates also getting a chance to vote on the coalition deal at a party congress on 24 February.

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There was no sign of an imminent end to talks between Merkel's Union bloc and the Social Democrats early Wednesday, some 21 hours into what party leaders have said should be the final round of negotiations.

His announcement also upset Germany's current foreign minister - veteran SPD member Sigmar Gabriel - who complained of a "lack of respect" and said he was popular among ordinary Germans.

"What remains is actually regret at how disrespectful our treatment within the SPD toward one another has become - for how little a promise counts", Gabriel told Funke media group in an interview. The results from that are due in early March, and that vote is now looking too close to call either way.

Merkel is anxious to get a government in place and end more than four months of political limbo that have hampered decision-making in Germany, Europe's largest economy, and caused concern among partners in the European Union who look to Berlin for leadership in facing challenges from eurozone reform to Brexit. Paul Ziemiak, leader of the bloc's youth wing, called for a broad discussion about the longer-term future of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its leadership.

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