Social Democrats to insist on national minimum wage for Germany

Party puts potential obstacle in path of Angela Merkel’s plan for coalition

Chancellor Angela Merkel: seeking a coalition partner with whom to form a majority government coalition. Photograph: Gallup/Getty Images

Chancellor Angela Merkel: seeking a coalition partner with whom to form a majority government coalition. Photograph: Gallup/Getty Images

Mon, Oct 14, 2013, 01:00

Germany’s opposition Social Democrats threw up a new potential obstacle to a “grand coalition” government with Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday ahead of a new round of talks, saying they would insist on a national minimum wage.

Ms Merkel’s conservatives defeated her centre-left rivals in the September 22nd election, but she needs either the SPD or the Greens as a coalition partner and neither party has shown much desire to join her.

The possibility that talks could take months worries Germany’s European partners, who fear it could delay decisions on measures to fight the euro zone crisis – such as a plan for banking union.

The SPD is seen as Ms Merkel’s most likely ally – in a revival of the right-left coalition that ruled from 2005-09 – and she is due to hold a second round of exploratory talks with the party today. Ms Merkel is expected to present detailed offers at the talks, deputy SPD leader Andrea Nahles said yesterday.

“There will be no government with the SPD unless there is a deal for a national minimum wage of €8.50 euros per hour,” the left-leaning Nahles told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. (Reuters)