Prospective Merkel partner wants to make Germany EU 'motor'

The leader of Germany's center-left Social Democrats says he hopes talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives on a new government will produce results that make the country "the motor of European policy."

Martin Schulz's Social Democrats and Merkel's conservative Union bloc are aiming to decide by Friday whether they want to launch formal negotiations on renewing their governing coalition of the past four years.

Germany currently has only a caretaker government, limiting Merkel's ability to launch major initiatives while French President Emmanuel Macron presses for ambitious reforms in the European Union.

Schulz said as he arrived for the talks on Monday that Europe will be a central issue for the next government.

He says he hopes party leaders achieve "results that make ... Germany the motor of European policy again."