ANALYSIS: Merkel's Green deal?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday will meet leaders of the Green party for preliminary talks about a potential coalition.

A government between Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Greens would be excellent news for the renewables industry, thanks to the Greens’ deep-rooted and unwavering support of Germany’s move away from nuclear power toward renewables.

But Merkel last Friday met leaders of the Social Democrats (SPD), with whom a coalition is seen as more likely than with the Greens. Another meeting with the SPD is scheduled for Monday.

Merkel won a landslide victory in federal elections in late September, gaining 41.5% for her CDU/CSU, while the SPD garnered 25.7% and the Greens 8.4%. But Merkel lost her Free Democrat (FDP) coalition partner and now needs one of the  opposition parties to help form a new government.

Leftist members of the Greens showed scepticism ahead of the meeting on Thursday, with co-leader Claudia Roth saying that her party is going “seriously and well prepared” into the talks, but that her imagination has limits in regards to a possible “black-green” (CDU/CSU/Green) government.

Roth criticised leading CDU politicians such as EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger as “nuclear junkie” and has doubts the conservatives will agree to the Greens' ambitious renewable energy targets.

Representatives of the more centrist “realo” wing of the Greens, such as Winfried Kretschmann, the Green premier of the state of Baden-Württemberg, see a black-green government as a more realistic option.

Kretschmann will also attend the talks with Merkel and is seen as an important, but also moderate, power broker by many in the CDU/CSU.

Merkel herself has kept a diplomatic silence about the issue, but observers say she may prefer a coalition with the smaller Greens, on the grounds that they would be easier to keep in check than the much larger SPD.

The disadvantage of a black-green coalition would be, however, that it has no majority in Germany’s upper house, the Bundesrat, which represents German states, while a link with the SPD would provide such a majority. The stability-minded Chancellor is likely to keep that in mind.

Talks to form Germany’s next government are certain to drag on for several weeks to come. The SPD has scheduled a party convention for 20 October at which it will decide whether to enter into formal coalition negotiations.

That is unless Merkel decides that she has more in common, and can push through more of her own agenda, with the Greens.