The future of the strained coalition is under threat with the two political parties deciding over the coming weeks whether it will continue after the SPD chose a more leftist leadership duo. They have demanded new policies on climate, investment and the minimum wage in Germany. Now head of the CDU party Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer has launched a scathing attack against Government coalition partner the SPD for failing to make clear its commitment to the alliance.
But she has also stopped short of ruling out all their demands.
Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer told German weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag: “Just like you can’t be a little bit pregnant, you can’t rule a little bit,” adding the CDU remains true to the coalition deal and expects the same from the SPD.
She continued: “It’s bad for Germany if every important decision depends on the SPD’s inner feelings.
“This coalition is for the country, not trauma therapy for ruling parties.”
The latest scathing comments from Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer, which echo warnings from other senior conservatives, have set the stage for the start of what are likely to be tense talks on the coalition.
If the 18-month-old coalition was to collapse, it could result in a minority Government or snap election.
This would threaten the stability of Europe’s biggest economy – which is already under huge pressure – at a time when the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and Green are gaining more support.
Chancellor Ms Merkel, who has ld Germany for the past 14 years, has said she will not stand at the next election.
But the two Government coalition partners have been at loggerheads with each other over recent weeks.
The SPD’s new leaders want to spend around €450billion (£380billion) over the next decade on infrastructure, schools and embracing the digital revolution – all from expanded broadband access to robots.
The coalition partner has so far not insisted on the Government dropping a commitment to achieving a balanced budget without incurring new debt, but it has demanded a more flexible approach.
Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer appears to have ruled this out.
She told the centre-right, liberal-conservative German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung: “There is no point in making new debt.
“If there is too little investment, it is not due to a lack of money, it is because the money that there is flows too slowly.”
The CDU leader has also turned down the SPD’s calls to increase the minimum wage, arguing the issue should not be decided by politicians but instead by an independent commission.
In regards to climate, she does not want to return to the drawing board after the parties agreed in September to a package aiming to ensure Germany meets targets to reduce greenhouse emissions.
But there may be futher tension ahead, particular as the greens are blocking legislation in the country’s upper house.
Markus Blume, General Secretary of Bavaria’s conservatives, has rejected any chance of the German Government embracing the SPD’s ideas.
He told German Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag: “An SPD on a leftist path will not lead to the German Government following a leftist path.”