Big Tech should pay more taxes: German coalition

Germany's Coalition Is Italy's Salvation

Mrs Merkel has handed all the top ministries in Germany, including finance and foreign, to the SPD - the price the party demanded to form a government with her following an indecisive general election a year ago which saw her party's majority slashed by the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany upstarts.

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Christian Social Union (CSU) leader Horst Seehofer and Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz pose after a statement on coalition talks to form a new coalition government in Berlin, Germany, February 7, 2018.

Senior SPD members also pressured their leader into dropping his demand to be the foreign minister as part of the grand coalition - or GroKro.

SPD leader Martin Schulz drew strong criticism in the party after he announced on Wednesday that he would resign as SPD chairman to become foreign minister, after promising before the election that he would not serve in a Merkel-led government.

Many young and leftist members are against the renewed so-called Grand Coalition between the SPD and the Union.

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"I hereby declare my renunciation of joining the federal government and at the same time sincerely hope that this will end the personnel debates within the SPD", he said.

It was Schulz's second major U-turn since the September elections that ground the storied centre-left party down to just 20.5% of the vote. But the final stretch appeared to be more about horse-trading on posts, with the SPD celebrating their advances within the cabinet.

The new coalition will put the far-right Alternative for Germany, the third-largest party in the German parliament, known as the Bundestag, in the opposition.

He was also facing anger over his treatment of Sigmar Gabriel, the current foreign minister and Germany's most popular politician, who had looked set to be forced out of government by Mr Schulz's decision to take the job.

"What remains is actually regret at how disrespectful our treatment within the SPD toward one another has become - for how little a promise counts", Gabriel told Funke media group in an interview. He was officially elected by a party congress with 100 percent of the vote. He reversed that position under pressure in November after Merkel's talks with the Greens and Free Democrats to form a multi-party government collapsed in acrimony.

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