Angela Merkel’s CDU and the centre-left SPD will begin formal coalition talks in Germany this week after a meeting of 230 senior SPD members gave the go-ahead on Sunday.
To win the vote, the SPD leadership pledged to secure 10 demands it called “non-negotiable”, including a minimum wage of 8.50 euros per hour, equal pay for men and women, greater investment in infrastructure and education, and a common strategy to boost euro zone growth.
That means thrashing out a policy slate with Merkel’s party is likely to take some time so the betting is an administration won’t be in place until late November at the earliest. SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel said the aim was to have a functioning government by Christmas.
SPD sources say the centre-left also wants six of the 15 cabinet posts though there has been no mention of targeting Wolfgang Schaeuble’s finance ministry.
So it will be some while until the EU’s dominant power will be in a position to push forward new policies aimed at securing the euro zone’s future. To prove that point, an EU leaders’ summit on Thursday and Friday is unlikely to break new ground although of course all the hot topics such as banking union will be discussed.