German Chancellor Angela Merkel is still searching for a coalition partner after the Green party ruled out any further talks with her conservatives.
After six hours of discussions it appeared the two sides could not find enough in common on energy, climate targets or taxation.
The fact that the former arch-enemies spoke at all is a step forward in itself.
“We always said it was about finding out if there was a solid and workable basis for spending four years in government together – after these talks it appears there wasn’t,” said Green Party member Claudia Roth.
It now leaves Merkel to focus on discussions with the centre-left Social Democrats, in a possible repeat of the the ‘grand coalition’ she headed up 2005-2009.