German coalition negotiators press on transaction tax; still apart on other European issues

BERLIN – Negotiators from the parties expected to form Germany’s next government are vowing to push forward slow-moving plans to introduce a European tax on financial transactions.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives are in talks with the centre-left Social Democrats on a new coalition. The conservatives won September elections but their pro-business coalition partners of the past four years were voted out of Parliament.

Germany and 10 other European nations want to introduce the transaction tax but progress has been slow. While in opposition, the Social Democrats accused Merkel of doing too little to advance it.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz, a Social Democrat, said Wednesday both parties agree they “absolutely” want to press for the tax. Conservative Herbert Reul said they want to bridge differences on Europe’s planned banking union by mid-November.