German liberals reject Merkel deal
Germany's Free Democrats (FDP) yesterday ruled out joining a post-election coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel if she supported French plans to deepen fiscal integration in the eurozone.
Germany goes to the polls next Sunday, when Ms Merkel looks almost certain to be elected to a fourth term in office, though her conservatives will not win enough votes to govern alone.
The socially liberal FDP has long been seen as her natural ally and was junior partner in her second government from 2009 to 2013. It crashed out of parliament that year but is hoping to re-enter the legislature on Sunday as the third-largest party.
"The toughest question is setting the agenda for the future of Europe," FDP leader Christian Lindner told the 'Welt am Sonntag' newspaper. "I fear that Ms Merkel has already agreed to new funding mechanisms (for the EU) with (French President Emmanuel) Macron.
"Everything that goes in the direction of financial transfer on the European level, be it a eurozone budget or a banking union, is a red line for us".
Mr Macron has called for a finance minister and a standalone budget for the bloc, while European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday urged EU governments to pursue closer union.