Dutch foreign minister Halbe Zijlstra said the prospect of new elections in Germany following the breakdown of coalition talks is ‘the worst possible scenario’.
The Free Democratic party (FDP) walked out of the negotiations shortly before midnight on Sunday, and its leader Christian Lindner told reporters there is no ‘common basis of trust’ between the FDP, chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU and the Greens.
The rift is, commentators say, the most serious risk to Merkel’s position since she became chancellor 12 years ago.
News of the breakdown is extremely regrettable, Zijlstra is quoted as saying by RTLZ. ‘Germany is a very important country within Europe and it will be difficult to take decisions in Brussels.’
The Dutch foreign minister went on to urge the four parties to think again.‘They have only had one round of talks,’ Zijlstra said. ‘It took us in the Netherlands seven months, so I’d say they have five months to go.’
‘So I would say, think it over again and perhaps try talking again, rather than hold new elections.’
Zijlstra was speaking in Brussels ahead of Monday night’s vote on the location of two European agencies which will move from London after Brexit. Amsterdam is hoping to host the European medicines agency EMA.
Prime minister Mark Rutte’s Monday visit to German chancellor Angela Merkel was cancelled following the breakdown of talks on forming a new coalition.
The cancellation is due to Merkel’s ‘domestic obligations’, officials said. A new date has not yet been set.