Merkel’s Bloc Draws Red Line for Talks With Coalition Partners

Arne Delfs and Iain Rogers
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Merkel’s Bloc Draws Red Line for Talks With Coalition Partners

(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s Christian Democratic-led bloc is signaling it will resist its junior coalition partner’s efforts to veer Angela Merkel’s government to the left with new demands for increased spending.

“There will be no follow-up negotiations of the coalition agreement,” CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak said in regard to demands from the Social Democrats. “The SPD needs to get a move on. It must say what it wants and how we continue to work together on the basis of the coalition agreement,” he said following a CDU party leadership meeting.

On Friday, the SPD installed a new, leftist leadership that seek concessions from the CDU to remain in government. Ziemiak debunked some of the main ones, such as raising the minimum wage toward 12 euros ($13) per hour, an easing of the balanced budget policy or the adoption of a wealth tax.

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Markus Soeder, head of the CSU, the CDU’s Bavarian sister party and third member of the coalition, also capped expectations on reopening the coalition accord that in March of last year formed the basis of the government. An initial encounter between the three parties is expected this week or next.

“The situation has become more difficult,” Soeder told reporters in Munich. “There’s no ultimatum or deadline, the question is if the government remains functional.”

At stake is whether Merkel will be able to finish her last 4-year term or whether the coalition will fall apart and eventually trigger snap elections. The 65-year-old stepped down as party chief last year and said she will not seek a further mandate.

Disillusioned with a series of electoral defeats and a drop in opinion polls, SPD members on Friday approved a series of demands they want to negotiate with the CDU.

Official SPD Wish List

Earlier on Monday Armin Laschet, premier of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, said in an interview with television broadcaster ARD, that there could be room to agree on new policies.

“There are enough tasks. We can talk to each other in a business-like way even with a new leadership and if there is sometimes a sharp tone,” he said. “The key question now is what the two leaders will bring to the table and what they now want to push through,” he said. “It’s about concrete action and that is the task of the next weeks and months.”

(Updates with Ziemiak comments in second paragraph)

To contact the reporters on this story: Arne Delfs in Berlin at adelfs@bloomberg.net;Iain Rogers in Berlin at irogers11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Chris Reiter, Raymond Colitt

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