German three-way coalition still a way off, Greens say

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 25, 2017 3:12 AM

BERLIN (Reuters) - A three-way coalition between Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens is still a long way off despite an agreement not to raise Germany's debt, the Greens leader said on Wednesday.

Politicians from the three blocs seeking to form a combination unprecedented at national government level agreed on Tuesday not to increase the debt load to fund sought-after tax cuts, subsidies and investments.

But Cem Ozdemir told Deutschlandfunk radio: "As long as not everything is agreed on, nothing has yet been finally agreed."

"There's still a long way to go," he said, adding that there were still major obstacles.

On the Greens website, Ozdemir said the potential partners in a "Jamaica" coalition - so called because the parties' colors correspond with those of the Jamaican flag - had agreed not to carry out the previous government's plans to boost defense spending.

"We have managed to ensure that medium-term financial planning is jointly developed," Ozdemir said. "The grand coalition's financial plan, which envisaged increasing the defense budget, is not the common basis."

NATO members agreed in 2014 to end years of defense cuts and meet a target of spending 2 percent of economic output on defense by 2024. Defense spending is currently under 1.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in Germany.

Merkel said in the spring that she was committed to the NATO defense spending target.

(Reporting by Gernot Heller and Hans-Edzard Busemsann; Writing by Michelle Martin; editing by John Stonestreet)