On the first day of their official exploratory talks, the leaders of the CDU, CSU and SPD underscored the need for comprehensive reforms in germany and europe.
“We are all aware of our responsibility for the future of germany and europe,” said SPD secretary general lars klingbeil in berlin. It is clear to all: “there can be no “business as usual”.”It is the firm intention that there will be an exploratory result next thursday, “on the basis of which we will then decide whether further talks are worthwhile”.
Germany is “in a new era. And these new times need new policies,” said klingbeil, adding: “we see that policies in this country have to change.”The 15 working groups had already discussed the matter on the first day. Klingbeil would not give details. The discussions were very serious and focused, but open. Although they already know each other, it is a “special situation”.
Despite the high reform and time pressure, negotiators from all sides were confident that an agreement could be reached before the talks began. Despite clear differences, they signaled a willingness to compromise. CDU and CSU strive for a stable rough coalition. The SPD leaves open whether it wants to enable a new edition of the still incumbent black-red government or other forms of cooperation.
According to sigmar gabriel (SPD), europe must be at the center of a possible coalition agreement between the union and the SPD. Gabriel said this evening on the ARD program “report from berlin” that the grand coalition had made the mistake in 2013 of focusing more on domestic policy and too little on europe.
It is finally time for germany to respond to the reform proposals of french president emmanuel macron. SPD leader martin schulz wants to transform the eu into the united states of europe with a common constitutional treaty by 2025.
The CDU leader, chancellor angela merkel, emphasized before the start of the exploratory talks that a new federal government would have enormous tasks ahead of it . Critics have repeatedly accused her, the SPD and the CSU of lacking the will to reform. The main points of contention are migration and refugee policy, as well as the SPD’s call for a standardized statutory health insurance system for citizens.
There may also be problems with the european issue and with tax issues. Merkel and the leaders of the SPD and CSU, martin schulz and horst seehofer, are in trouble after their poor results in the federal elections and are dependent on a successful negotiation.
Schulz said before the start of negotiations that politics and the state had to be modernized and germany had to be brought up to date. The SPD would take an open-ended sounding, he affirmed. But: “we don”t draw red lines, we want to implement as many red policies as possible in germany.” also seehofer assured, he does not want to start already with conditions in the language.
Saxony"s minister president michael kretschmer (CDU) said germany needs an "innovation coalition" that focuses on education and research. Satisfaction is needed in migration policy. Family reunification must remain suspended for those who had no permanent prospects of staying.
Mecklenburg-western pomerania’s minister president manuela schwesig (SPD), who was considered a critic of a new edition of the grand coalition, said on the sidelines of the meeting: "everyone must now approach each other in a reasonable and objective manner." A focus would be on better education. "The federal government must do more in the area of schools in the future."To the question of whether a black zero must be in the budget, she replied: "yes."
Saxony-anhalt’s minister president reiner haseloff (CDU) emphasized that the SPD in particular must now develop an offer for the party conference so that they can then enter into coalition negotiations. For the east, among other things, further harmonization of living standards is important, as is a "clear commitment to coal, without calling the climate targets into question. His colleague kretschmer wants "a perspective of at least 30 years for the lignite regions to be able to start a structural change".
Merkel emphasized that the union and the SPD had a clear mandate from the voters to continue the grand coalition. This had recently been called into doubt due to the poor election results of the three parties. The point is to be able to live in prosperity and in a democracy in five to ten years’ time. The exploratory talks were well prepared: "I believe it can succeed," said the CDU chairwoman.
The first round of meetings was held at the willy-brandt house, the SPD headquarters. In the coming days, the parties also want to take turns holding consultations at the CDU headquarters and the bavarian state representative office. SPD leadership needs approval for official coalition talks at a party conference to be held on 21 december. January is supposed to take place in bonn and is considered a rough hurdle.
For juso boss kevin kuhnert, it is irrelevant if a failure to form a government would lead to the political exit of SPD leader schulz. "It’s about content and positioning in the party system of the federal republic," kuhnert told the "handelsblatt" newspaper.