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>> It's been over two months since Germany held an election and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is still struggling to put together a government. Last night she met with Martin Schultz, leader of the Social Democrats. They met for over two hours, but it's still unclear whether those two can overcome their differences and Merkel can renew her right left grand coalition.
I'm Noah Barkin with Reuters in Berlin. We don't know a lot about what happened at this meeting which was hosted by the German president. That's because both parties agreed not to say anything at the end of the meeting. There are two reasons for that. One, during Merkel's coalition talks with the Free Democrats and the Greens, which collapsed last month, those talks were undermined by lots of public statements during the negotiation.
People tweeting, people giving interviews. So they've decided to be a bit more discreet this time. Secondly, the Social Democrats have deep misgivings about going into this coalition. They have a party congress coming up next week in Berlin. They're very reluctant about giving the appearance of committing to talks with her.
If these coalition talks collapse like the previous ones did, then there are two scenarios. A minority government which would be unprecedented in post war German history, or new elections. The big concern about new elections is that we could get the same result as we got in the election in September, that wouldn't resolve anything.
And it could delay the formation of a new government until the second half of 2018. That would be a huge setback for Germany and for Europe, at a time when French President Emmanuel Macron is looking to Germany to work together, to formulate common responses to challenges like Donald Trump and Brexit.