German Social Democrats mull talks on new Merkel government

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The leader of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) took aim at the Republic and criticised U.S. technology firms Apple, Facebook and Google on Thursday, saying a strong Europe was needed to make sure they stick to the rules.

Pointing to Poland, whose right-wing government has risked censure from Brussels over human rights issues, and Hungary, which is becoming increasingly isolated, Schulz said that the draft constitution would be presented as an ultimatum.

He also advocated aiming for a federal "United States of Europe" by 2025, and argued that countries that don't want to sign up to a treaty establishing a federal setup should leave the European Union.

"The truth is, we want to reach the climate goals and that will only work by ending coal-fired power generation", SPD leader Martin Schulz said.

Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament, vowed to extract a high price if the SPD supports Merkel for a fourth term from early 2018 at the helm of Europe's biggest economy. "A Europe that is no threat to its member states, but a beneficial addition".

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Schulz's SPD came second in the German election in September to Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc.

At a previously scheduled party congress Thursday, Schulz is seeking members' approval for a resolution approving talks on "whether and in what form" the Social Democrats can support a new government.

"The renewal of the Social Democratic Party will happen outside a 'grand coalition, ' or it won't happen", said the leader of its youth wing, Kevin Kuehnert.

"The SPD is needed for a just and innovative Europe", he said.

'God knows that the European Union can't afford another four years of German policies on Europe in the style of Wolfgang Schaeuble, ' he said to applause from 600 delegates.

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