Advocates of a closer European Union shouldn’t uncork the champagne quite yet. The blueprint for a potential new coalition government in Germany may well involve a significant push for more European integration. But at the same time, an upstart wing inside one of the political parties negotiating to take power in 2018 is resisting noisily, bringing the focus back to domestic politics. If their young leader is reading the party faithful right, then the first round of coalition negotiations may amount to nothing.
There is a lot more procedural work to be done before the so-called grand coalition – between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, or CDU, its sister party, the Christian Social Union, and the country’s Social Democrats – can even begin to embark on further negotiations to form a new government.
The party leaders agreed to a blueprint for future negotiations late last week. But the decision as to whether negotiations can continue on the basis of that document must now be voted upon by 600 Social Democratic Party, or SPD, delegates at a special conference in Bonn, on January 21.