SPD denies 'green light' for new German government, but keeps options open

SPD denies 'green light' for new German government, but keeps options open

SPD denies 'green light' for new German government, but keeps options open

Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader on Friday denied media reports that claimed his party was ready to enter coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Conservatives.

Schulz, Merkel and her Bavarian ally Horst Seehofer agreed to meet at Germany's presidential palace to explore the possibility of forming a so-called grand coalition like the one that makes up the outgoing government. Sources in the SPD said all options would be discussed - ranging from a re-run of the grand coalition with the conservatives to new elections.in Europe's largest economy. Merkel's conservative bloc and the SPD lost support in that vote, while an anti-immigrant party surged into parliament, seriously complicating the coalition arithmetic.

Schulz met with President Steinmeier on Thursday night as part of efforts to break the political crisis rocking Germany since Merkel's bid to form a coalition with two smaller parties failed.

After suffering its worst ever general election result, the SPD declared it would not reprise its role as junior partner to Merkel and wanted instead to rebuild in opposition.

He denied a report from Germany's top-selling Bild newspaper that the SPD had already given the green-light to negotiating a new coalition with Merkel, saying "there is no automatic OK for a grand coalition, I made that clear yesterday".

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"We need a different Europe and the initiatives that the French president has suggested should not be given a "no" from Berlin or left unanswered", he said, referring to Macron's ideas of creating a new eurozone finance minister position and giving the 19-member zone its own budget.

Ahead of that congress, which will also decide whether to re-elect Schulz as chief of the SPD, the party's top brass has been careful to tread softly regarding its options.

"The decisive question is what do we want to implement, what can we implement - for example in the renewal of the European Union", Schulz said.

"There was a broad consensus about not closing down any options concerning the formation of a new government", Schulz told reporters.

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