December 15, 2017 / 4:22 PM / a year ago

Merkel welcomes SPD's decision to start talks on forming government

NUREMBERG, Germany (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday welcomed a decision by the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) to begin exploratory talks with her conservatives on forming a coalition government.

She said she had “great respect” for the SPD’s decision, announced earlier today by SPD leader Martin Schulz.

Merkel, speaking at a congress of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party to her Christian Democrats (CDU), also underscored the importance of working closely with France to strengthen the European Union.

“Europe is unthinkable without a strong Germany and strong German-French cooperation,” she said.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Michelle Martin

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