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Bütikofer: In the name of EU, Steinmeier will put pressure on his comrades

Bütikofer: In the name of EU, Steinmeier will put pressure on his comrades

24 November 2017 | 13:22 | FOCUS News Agency
Berlin. Germany’s failed coalition talks are hurting Europe’s reform agenda so Brussels and the EU capitals should lean on the country’s political leaders to find an agreement and avoid another election, Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer, who took part in the talks, EurActiv reported.
He shared his opinion with journalists about what solutions could be expected.
German coalition talks collapsed on Sunday (19 November) when the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) unexpectedly walked out of the talks with Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Greens, saying that the three parties could not find compromises on key issues like immigration and the environment.
Bütikofer called that the breakdown of an “extraordinary experiment”, adding that he had been doubtful from the beginning if the Liberals (FDP) had been willing to conclude an agreement in the first place.
He explained that FDP were much more comfortable in opposition, to preserve their image of the “new kid on the block who says it all” and that they were afraid to join the government.
A return to the Jamaica formula is excluded, Bütikofer said. (The Jamaica flag consist of the colours of CDU/CSU – black, of FDP – yellow, and of the Greens). The FDP is not going to be a partner in any government in a foreseeable future, he added.
The pressure, he said, was now on the Social Democrats (SPD), to turn around from their rejection of another grand coalition, a position which he said was popular with their electorate immediately after the disastrous result of the 24 September election, but no longer today.
Bütikofer said that today the risk is that in a new election the Social Democrats, “after having refused to save the fatherland in a time of crisis, might end up with even fewer votes”.
“There is a rethinking. It’s hard to predict how it would turn out, but I think Social Democrats are so unhappy with their present leadership, which seems to be inept at dealing with the situation, that they might just use the opportunity to change card, and turn back to the table and form another grand coalition,” Bütikofer said, adding that the probability was “not below 40%”.
Another option, he said, was a “Kenya coalition” (black, red and green, after the colors of CDU/CSU, SPD and the Greens), but he said this should be excluded, because in his words it makes little sense to argue that it would be the interest of the Greens to join an SPD and CDU/CSU coalition.
He said that Social Democrats had told the greens in private conversations that they would not have conceded a major move favoured by the Greens, the 7-gigawatt reduction on coal, which was part of the elements on which the three forces found agreement before the talks collapsed.
There is also the idea of having a minority government, the options being CDU/CSU plus Greens, or CDU/CSU with the liberals. Bütikofer said he assumed neither option was probable.
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AFP: German president urges parties to compromise, end crisis

AFP: German president urges parties to compromise, end crisis

20 November 2017 | 16:04 | FOCUS News Agency
Berlin. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged on Monday political parties to reconsider their positions and find compromises to form a government, hours after coalition talks collapsed and plunged Germany into a crisis, AFP reported.
"Building a government has always been a difficult process of give and take, but the mandate to form a government is... perhaps the highest mandate given by voters to a party in a democracy. And this mandate remains," said Steinmeier, adding that "this is the moment where all participants need to reconsider their attitude."
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AFP: Macron says German political crisis 'not in our interest'

AFP: Macron says German political crisis 'not in our interest'

20 November 2017 | 11:13 | FOCUS News Agency
Paris. French President Emmanuel Macron expressed concern about Germany's political deadlock on Monday, saying "it is not in our interest that the situation becomes tense", AFP reported.
"It means that we need to go forward," he said in comments to the head of the rightwing Republicans party Bernard Accoyer at the Elysee palace.

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Maria Stoyanova: Talks on so-called Jamaica coalition in Germany fail due to different party ideology

Maria Stoyanova: Talks on so-called Jamaica coalition in Germany fail due to different party ideology

20 November 2017 | 11:09 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The failed negotiations for a so-called Jamaica coalition in Germany are the result of the parties’ different ideology, Maria Stoyanova, a former longtime correspondent in Germany, commented for FOCUS Radio this morning. This is the most serious crisis for Chancellor Angela Merkel in her 12-year government period, Stoyanova said. On the other hand, the options are not many, as sociologists expect her party to maintain its leadership. The differences are insurmountable and there is also tension between the negotiating teams, according to Stoyanova. She commented that the negotiation with 50 people on one table was a precedent for Germany. There is disappointment among Germany’s European partners, she added, including Bulgaria which will need strong support for its upcoming presidency of the Council of the EU.
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Reuters: German three-way coalition still a way off, Greens say

Reuters: German three-way coalition still a way off, Greens say

25 October 2017 | 10:56 | FOCUS News Agency
Berlin. A three-way coalition between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens is still a long way off despite an agreement not to raise Germany’s debt, the Greens leader said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Politicians from the three blocs seeking to form a combination unprecedented at national government level agreed on Tuesday not to increase the debt load to fund sought-after tax cuts, subsidies and investments.
But Cem Ozdemir told Deutschlandfunk radio: “As long as not everything is agreed on, nothing has yet been finally agreed.”
“There’s still a long way to go,” he said, adding that there were still major obstacles.
On the Greens website, Ozdemir said the potential partners in a “Jamaica” coalition - so called because the parties’ colors correspond with those of the Jamaican flag - had agreed not to carry out the previous government’s plans to boost defense spending.
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Politico: Angela Merkel ready to move forward with Jamaica coalition

Politico: Angela Merkel ready to move forward with Jamaica coalition

8 October 2017 | 08:00 | FOCUS News Agency
Dresden. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she is ready to pursue exploratory coalition talks with the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens, Politico reported .
Speaking at an event in Dresden, Merkel told members of her Christian Democrats (CDU) youth wing that there were no other realistic options to form a government.
“It is clear that the Social Democrats are not capable of being in government on the national level in the foreseeable future, so I advise us all to waste no time thinking about that any more,” said Merkel.
Merkel’s CDU and her Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union, will meet Sunday to come to an agreement on migration policy, so that the two parties can move forward in coalition talks with the FDP and the Greens about forming a so-called Jamaica coalition.
The CSU has called for a cap on new refugee arrivals, which puts the party at odds with Merkel, who opposes the policy. The FDP and Greens have also said they would not consider an upper-limit on refugees.
“I will do everything I can to move this forward … With good will, that is possible,” Merkel said.
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