Merkel says coalition talks difficult, but German parties can reach deal

Chancellor Angela Merkel said German parties face a difficult task to bridge their differences in crunch coalition talks on Thursday. However, she believes they can reach an agreement to work together in a new government. “We have very, very different positions,” she told reporters. “If it works – I think it can work – there can be a positive result at the end of today’s negotiations. But this is a difficult task,” Reuters quoted her as saying. The EU’s budget commissioner, Guenther Oettinger, said on Thursday he expected German parties exploring a three-way coalition government to strike a deal. Oettinger warned that a failure of talks would damage Europe and strengthen populists.