German SPD leader seeks end to Schaeuble-style austerity

SPD leader promises to push Germany to embrace Macron

Merkel struggles to lure coalition partners back

A poll published by the German Spiegel newspaper showed that only 28 percent of SPD voters favoured another grand coalition, though 57 percent of them argued leader Martin Schulz should support a minority government led by Merkel.

Social Democratic Party, SPD, chairman Martin Schulz addresses the media during a news conference after a board meeting at the party's headquarter in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017.

Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament, vowed to extract a high price if the SPD supports Merkel for a fourth term from early 2018 at the helm of Europe's biggest economy.

Martin Schulz, the head of Germany's Social Democrats, wants to push for ever-closer European integration and turn the EU into a "United States of Europe" by 2025. "It is the only chance we have to keep up with the other great regions of the world".

"Only a strong Europe can force platform giants like Facebook and Google to respect our rules and basic rights", he said.

Snow and ice warning issued for north-west
Met √Čireann forecaster John Eagleton said there is unlikely to be snow during the daytime but snow will gather on higher ground. There may be a light dusting of snow around the country, and it may stick in places in the north and northwest.

"France is making proposals and Germany is not engaging".

Nonetheless, the SPD is holding a three-day congress this week and will ask members' permission to start coalition talks with the Conservatives.

Their leader, Kevin Kuehnert, warned that, after four election defeats in a row, joining another grand coalition would threaten the very existence of the party, and that the leadership's backflip had sparked "a deep crisis of trust" at the base.

Schulz said that if the SPD ends up again governing with Merkel, Berlin's stance on Europe would have to shift away from the austerity approach of Merkel and her former finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Many SPD members fiercely believe the party's poor standing at the last vote had much to do with its inability to distinguish itself from the conservative alliance after years in government together.

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