Merkel struggles to lure coalition partners back

Merkel struggles to lure coalition partners back

The leader of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) took aim at the Republic and criticised USA technology firms Apple, Facebook and Google on Thursday, saying a strong Europe was needed to make sure they stick to the rules.

Barely more than a quarter of German Social Democrat voters have backed the idea of forming a new coalition with Angela Merkel before a party debate today about launching talks.

The Social Democrats have been part of Germany's government for 15 of the past 19 years - first leading a center-left government under Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder from 1998 to 2005, then twice governing in a "grand coalition" under Merkel, from 2005 to 2009 and again from 2013 until now.

He will ask party members for their support to start talks with Merkel's conservatives next week, although negotiations are expected to last well into the New Year.

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"We don't know if this coalition will happen".

"The SPD is needed for a just and innovative Europe", he said. The SPD will debate the idea of once again joining such a coalition at a congress on December 7-9.

The leader of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) said on Thursday that it was necessary to invest in a euro zone budget rather than focussing on austerity and added that he did not support a European Union without freedom of movement of people.

But SPD vice-president Aydan Ozoguz warned against "repeated skirmishes" over refugee rights, noting that Germany was no longer receiving hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East as it had in 2015.

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