Merkel still ‘optimistic’ of coalition despite little progress after 2 weeks of talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is “still optimistic” about the chances of putting together a coalition that will form the country’s next government. Almost two weeks of talks have produced little visible progress, AP said. Merkel stated on Friday that she expects “difficult” negotiations ahead, but still believes “that we can tie the ends together if we make an effort.” Negotiators from Merkel’s conservative Union bloc, the pro-business Free Democrats, and the traditionally left-leaning Greens have struggled to find common ground on issues including immigration, climate protection and agriculture since September 24 election.