In the coalition poker between the union and the SPD, a preliminary decision is expected on thursday. Union and SPD meet in berlin at noon for their third round of exploratory talks. After that, the SPD will decide whether there are enough cuts to recommend the start of coalition negotiations to its party convention on sunday. Following the greens' rejection of a coalition with the union, a grand coalition is considered the most likely option, but the SPD expects concessions to be made during the exploratory talks.
From the union there are meanwhile first compromise signals. CSU leader horst seehofer declared himself ready to accept the minimum wage of 8.50 euros demanded by the SPD if the union also achieves decisive success in the talks. "For me, everything is outstanding: no tax increases and no new debts", he told the "suddeutsche zeitung".
CDU secretary-general hermann grohe, on the other hand, warned that the place for compromises was not the exploratory talks, but the coalition negotiations. "It is the task of the respective party leadership to promote confidence in these negotiations within their own party, he told the "rheinische post.
"SPD needs a success
Seehofer, on the other hand, explained that it was obvious that the SPD needed a success to present to its members even before entering into coalition negotiations. "Therefore, a way must be found to ensure the introduction of a minimum wage without costing jobs."
The SPD insists on the introduction of a statutory minimum wage of 8.50 euros in the east and west. Representatives of the union, on the other hand, consider 8.50 euros in the east too high. Merkel warned on wednesday that too high a minimum wage could destroy jobs. The economy sees this the same way.
An SPD party convention with 200 delegates meets on sunday, which had to give the green light for the start of coalition negotiations. Without prior signals of compromise on the minimum wage, this could be difficult to achieve. If negotiations go ahead and a coalition agreement is reached, the final decision will be taken by all 470.000 SPD members to vote.
"Merkel must move"
Berlin's mayor klaus wowereit demanded that merkel make a move in the third round of exploratory talks. Whether the SPD accepts an invitation to official coalition negotiations depends solely on the content, the deputy federal SPD chairman told the berliner zeitung (thursday). "The chancellor has to create the conditions for this."
The head of the SPD's labor wing, klaus barthel, expressed openness to possible exploratory talks on a red-red coalition. Barthel told the "bild" newspaper-zeitung (thursday edition): "if the union does not accommodate the SPD on issues such as pensions and the reorganization of the labor market, the party will have to rethink all possible constellations. Probes with greens and left also pay off."
Left-wing economists warn SPD not to give up demand for tax hikes in coalition talks. "The german economy is on the wane", according to a letter from several professors to the SPD executive board, from which the "berliner zeitung" has extracted the following information quoted. After years of reluctance to invest, the education system, health care, transportation infrastructure and energy supply urgently need to be rehabilitated and modernized. The authors include economists gustav horn, sebastian dullien and rudolf hickel.