Europe stocks open mixed as German coalition talks move forward

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BONN (Reuters) – Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) voted on Sunday to begin formal coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, moving Europe’s economic powerhouse closer to a stable government after months of political deadlock.

“We are of course all relieved,” SPD leader Martin Schulz told Phoenix television after the vote in Bonn, the capital of former West Germany where late SPD chancellors Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt earned reputations as global statesmen.

Now, the SPD aims to negotiate an improved coalition deal it can sell to members wary of acting as junior partner to Merkel.

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Social Democr­ats eager to join hands with the Merkel’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives start preparing for formal coalition talks with the Social Democrats (SPD) on Monday, wasting no time after the center-left party narrowly voted to go ahead following months of political deadlock.

At a nail-biter of a party congress, 56 percent of SPD delegates voted to pursue coalition talks with Merkel’s conservative bloc on the basis of a blueprint agreed earlier this month.

That was a narrower margin than many analysts had predicted and could embolden the SPD’s leaders to negotiate harder in talks.

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