Merkel to talk to Greens again

German Chancellor Angela Merkel after a meeting with the Greens yesterday will continue preliminary coalition talks with the strongly pro-renewables party, as well as with the larger Social Democrats (SPD).

Merkel’s strategy to talk to both of the hitherto opposition parties at the same time likely is a tactic to ensure neither of them will make demands for a possible coalition that are too high.

Both the SPD and the Greens have more ambitious targets for renewable energies than Merkel’s outgoing government that included the liberal Free Democrats, who had become increasingly hostile to Germany’s renewables support system based on relatively generous feed-in tariffs (FITs).

Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and her Bavarian ally, the Christian Social Union (CSU), in late September federal elections won a staggering 41.5%.

But the FDP didn’t garner enough votes to gain any parliamentary representation, so Merkel now needs the SPD or Greens to form a new government.

Energy policy was one of the areas discussed at the meeting with the Greens yesterday, but the parties gave no details.

Both the CDU/CSU and the Greens stressed that talks took place in an amicable atmosphere, but CSU secretary general Alexander Dobrindt said his party is closer to the SPD than to the Greens.

Merkel and CSU leader Horst Seehofer today will meet SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel, and the conservatives will meet a larger group of the SPD leadership again on Monday, followed by another preliminary meeting with the Greens on Tuesday.

Only after that second round of preliminary talks, the CDU/CSU will decide with which of the former opposition parties to open formal coalition negotiations.

An alliance with the SPD will continue Germany’s Energiewende – its turnaround from nuclear toward renewable energy – but due to the SPD’s closeness to the coal industry, fossil energy sources would also likely continue to play an important role.

The Greens as a prerequisite for a coalition will push for a parallel exit from the gas and coal economy, but it is unclear how much of its ideas the Greens could push through as they only won 8.4% of the vote.