The chancellor and her challenger met head on for the first time as political rivals on Wednesday night, when their two parties held their last coalition committee meeting before this September’s election.
But Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz held their fire as her Christian Democrats and his Social Democrats negotiated the governing coalition’s remaining legislative program. They reached a consensus on some agreeably uncontroversial issues like banning child marriages and harsher punishments for burglars. When it came to hot potatoes like capping executive pay, both sides kept all their options open. After all, there has to be some ammunition left for the election campaign.