Conservatives and FDP agree to coalition 'crisis meeting'

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 7 Jan, 2010 Updated Thu 7 Jan 2010 11:48 CEST
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The heads of the three parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition will hold what the German media had termed a "crisis meeting" after a shaky start marked by infighting, it emerged on Thursday.

Horst Seehofer, head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), confirmed a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily that a meeting would take place this month.

Merkel ditched her previous "grand coalition" partners, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), in elections on September 27 for a tie-up with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) led by Guido Westerwelle.

But it has been anything but smooth sailing, with the coalition riven by divisions over plans to boost the ailing economy with billions of euros in tax cuts that many experts say the country can ill afford.

In December Merkel only narrowly succeeded at pushing a first wave of tax cuts worth €8.5 billion through the upper house of parliament - just a foretaste of the much larger cuts to come.

Further friction, most notably between the CSU and the FDP, the two smaller coalition parties, has stemmed from Germany's Afghanistan mission and a long-running dispute over a museum on the post-war expulsion of ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe.

"It has nothing to do with any crisis," Seehofer insisted in Bavaria on the sidelines of a CSU meeting late on Wednesday, calling the planned get-together "routine."



AFP/The Local 2010/01/07 11:48

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