Merkel caves on national minimum wage demand as German coalition talks near final phase

BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is prepared to accept demands for a national minimum wage in order to forge a coalition that would give her a third term in office.

Merkel and her conservative Union bloc had opposed the centre-left Social Democrats’ call for an 8.50 euro ($11.50) minimum wage ahead of the country’s recent general election.

But lacking the seats to form a government on its own, Merkel’s bloc has been negotiating a “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats for the past two months.

She told an audience of political and business leaders in Berlin on Thursday that she saw forming a new government as a “responsibility” that would require concessions.

Some economists have warned the plan would cause job losses in Europe’s biggest economy.