Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader on Friday denied media reports that claimed his party was ready to enter coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Conservatives.
After suffering its worst ever general election result, the SPD declared it would not reprise its role as junior partner to Merkel and wanted instead to rebuild in opposition.
"It doesn't automatically mean a grand coalition, we have time and we will also discuss other possible options during the SPD party congress", said Schulz. "The way that erroneous reports are circulated destroys trust".
Malu Dreyer, an SPD member and premier of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, said she was sceptical the SPD could agree a "convincing, substantive proposal" with conservatives.
Should it come to coalition negotiations, Mr Schulz indicated he would push for the new government to become even more engaged at the European level, including standing behind French President Emmanuel Macron's push for further integration in the European Union.
Merkel's party stressed however that was it was seeking is a renewal of its alliance with the SPD, to form a "stable government" for Europe's biggest economy. "We should discuss all of these options and that is what I will recommend to the party leadership Monday". Her attempts to form a three-way tie-up with the pro-business Free Democratic party (FDP) and the Greens failed.
Merkel's camp said the ball was in the SPD's court.
The youth branch of the SPD is organising a petition which rejects a third grand coalition under Merkel and advocates that the centre-left should tolerate a Christian Democrat minority government instead.
"It's now up to the SPD to provide clarity", said CDU manager Klaus Schueler.
"The way for a grand coalition has been paved", Mohring told Reuters after taking part in a teleconference where Merkel had briefed the CDU federal board on Thursday night's talks with Schulz and the president.
"Germany's European politics must change", Mr Schulz, a former president of the European parliament, told the magazine.