German Greens Flag Policy Clash After Talks With Merkel Bloc
(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s Greens highlighted major policy differences with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat-led bloc after they sounded each other out on forming a three-way coalition with the Free Democrats.
Merkel’s conservatives are still hoping to lead a government under their chancellor candidate Armin Laschet despite their narrow defeat to Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats in last month’s national election.
Laschet, who has come under intense pressure after his bloc’s worst-ever result in the Sept. 26 vote, expressed optimism after Tuesday’s two hours of talks with the Greens that any differences could be overcome. Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, co-leaders of the Greens, provided little detail while acknowledging that those differences are substantial.
“We had a constructive and fact-based discussion today, with a great degree of seriousness, because it’s clear especially on social policy that our parties are rather far apart,” Baerbock said at a brief news conference.
The meeting capped a round of preliminary discussions among German parties. A three-way coalition under Scholz with the Greens and the pro-business FDP remains the likeliest outcome, and they are expected to announce the start of formal talks soon.
Habeck said the two smaller parties will take stock of their discussions with the SPD and CDU/CSU through Wednesday.
Agreeing on a coalition is likely to take months. While the SPD has long made clear it favors a tie-up with the Greens, bringing the FDP on board with its tax-cutting, budget-tightening agenda will require complex negotiations.
The FDP under its leader Christian Lindner has repeatedly declared the conservatives as the party’s natural allies. But the disarray within the CDU-led bloc after its first outright defeat since 1998 has made it more likely it will go into opposition for the first time since Merkel became chancellor in 2005.
A poll published Tuesday showed support for the SPD on 26%, in line with the election result, while the CDU/CSU slipped to 20% from 24% in the national vote.
Almost three quarters of the 3,004 people polled by Forsa for RTL/ntv said they think the conservatives shouldn’t be part of the next government. The Greens were on 16% and the FDP 14% compared with 14.8% and 11.5% respectively in the election.
The FDP on Tuesday criticized Laschet’s team after details of confidential talks were leaked to the press, heightening tensions at a moment when the erstwhile allies have been pushing for a conservative led-coalition.
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