Germany centre-left, conservative coalition talks drag into third day

German chief-of-staff to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also hailed the deal to form a government led by his fellow Christian Democrats.

The principal opposition to the coalition, meanwhile, will come from the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, whose very name is a rebuff to Ms. Merkel's insistent centrism.

"It's going to work out", the SPD's Andrea Nahles said on arrival for Monday's negotiations at her party headquarters.

The draft, published on Wednesday on the homepage of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party, did not indicate a schedule for ending glyphosate use.

In a press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel to present the agreement reached, Schulz said that the pact is the "foundation" for other approaches on the region and its institutions.

"Regardless of whether a ministry is led by the Social Democrats or the (Christian Democratic) Union, you can only spend the money you have", Merkel said.

Merkel , in power for over 12 years, at first tried to cobble together a novel three-way coalition with the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats, but those efforts collapsed in November.

But the protracted haggling has left its scars, and surveys suggest both camps have much to fear from fresh elections in case of a "no" vote from SPD members. They were required, though, as prizes for the Social Democrats, whose members now have the final vote on another stint as her junior partner in government.

More news: Turkey's Erdogan arrives in Vatican

"We've reached the point where we can get a good outcome", conservative Armin Laschet, premier of Germany's most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia, told public broadcaster ARD.

Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz is slated to take over as finance minister, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

To secure a fourth term in office, Merkel needs the center-left SPD to agree to a re-run of the coalition government that has ruled Europe's biggest economy since 2013.

The coalition deal must be approved by the SPD's 463,000 rank-and-file members, many of whom bristle at the prospect of enabling yet another star turn for Merkel in Germany and overseas.

The change could mean a mild shift away from the austerity imposed at home and overseas by former finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, although the parties have agreed on sticking to a balanced budget policy.

Many Social Democrats have blamed their poor showing on the party's membership in the previous "grand coalition". The coalition's answer to the AfD's strident opposition to immigration is a cap on refugee admissions of 180,000 to 220,000 a year - far below the approximately some 1 million who arrived in 2015. The party's youth wing vehemently opposes a repeat of that alliance.

While Merkel and the SPD are open to the French plans for deeper eurozone integration, the SPD is more enthusiastic about some of Macron's more ambitious proposals such as a joint eurozone budget and finance minister.

  • Adam Floyd