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Schulz urges SPD to approve Merkel govt talks, vows to push key demands

Schulz urges SPD to approve Merkel govt talks, vows to push key demands


AFP
Berlin
The chief of Germany's Social Democrats pleaded with his party on Thursday to allow him to start exploratory talks on joining or backing Chancellor Angela Merkel in a government, promising to push key demands especially on strengthening the EU.
Ten weeks after inconclusive elections left German politics in a stalemate, Martin Schulz urged his divided centre-left SPD to vote in favour of launching open-ended talks that could lead them to join Merkel in another"grand coalition" or tolerate a minority government.
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.
He demanded Berlin join French President Macron and other proponents of major EU reforms in boosting the bloc and its currency union, including by raising investment and giving the eurozone a common finance minister and budget.
In his hour-long speech, Schulz made a passionate call for a"United States of Europe" by 2025, which will mark the 100th anniversary of an SPD meeting that first proposed such a federal union.
"Europe is our life insurance," said Schulz."It is the only chance we have to keep up with the other great regions of the world." Schulz said only a more united EU could meet major challenges such as combating climate change, managing mass migration or stopping multinational companies from dodging taxes.
He argued that only a strengthened EU would stop the advance of right-wing nationalists, citing gains they had made in Germany as well as Austria, Denmark, Finland, France and the Netherlands.

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