Merkel seeks EU's patience as Germany forms new government
German chancellor Angela Merkel has asked her European Union partners for patience in discussing the bloc's future as she engages in what could be lengthy efforts to form a government.
The September 24 election in Germany left Mrs Merkel trying to form a new coalition made up of her conservative Union bloc, the pro-business Free Democrats and the traditionally left-leaning Greens.
The combination has never been tried before at the national level in Germany.
Exploratory talks opened on Wednesday and were stepped up on Friday, when representatives of the potential partners all met together for the first time.
The discussions are scheduled through November 2, but it is likely to be weeks or months before they conclude.
Mrs Merkel said after an EU summit in Brussels that the talks will include EU-related issues such as the eurozone's future.
She said: "It's not yet foreseeable when I can present results, and we will need in the coming weeks respect for the formation of a government in Germany."
The prospective coalition partners have differing views on issues such as taxes, the environment, admitting migrants and the fallout from the eurozone debt crisis.
After arriving back in Berlin, the German chancellor said: "There is certainly a readiness on my part to think creatively.
"But what must stand above everything is: what do people in this country expect of us? What do they expect for their lives?
"We must sound out whether we can form a government that can deliver what is important for our country - for jobs, for security in a comprehensive sense."
Mrs Merkel's partners in the outgoing government, the centre-left Social Democrats, have vowed to go into opposition after a stinging election defeat.