European Union chiefs welcome German coalition deal

08 February, 2018, 09:23 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrat Alliance have finally struck a deal with the Social Democrats after four months of negotiations

The deal gives a basis for a "good and stable government", Merkel said during a news conference on Wednesday, and if it were to be approved, it would end over four months of uncertainty that has existed since inconclusive elections in September.

The deal Wednesday morning between the CDU and coalition partners, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) ensures that Merkel, who has already served for more than 12 years, will get another term in office.

Schulz had previously ruled out forming a coalition with Merkel's conservatives, saying that September's poll results - which saw the SPD recording its worst post-war election performance, at 20.5 percent - had "directed us to go into opposition".

The conservative bloc and the SPD began talks about renewing their alliance after Merkel's coalition talks with two smaller parties collapsed last November. And even if there is enough SPD support to form a coalition government, that doesn't necessarily mean smooth sailing for Berlin in the future.

But a copy of the coalition agreement obtained by AFP indicated that he was able to extract major concessions from the conservatives in the final round of talks including control of the powerful finance and foreign ministries, as well as the labour, family affairs, justice and environment remits.

The coalition deal must be approved by the SPD's 463,000 rank-and-file members, many of whom bristle at the prospect of enabling yet another star turn for Merkel in Germany and overseas.

As a final round of talks stretched into the evening, both sides sounded upbeat a deal would be sealed on Tuesday, just in time to meet a self-imposed deadline.

A draft agreement of the coalition agreement includes a promise to capitalise on Brexit by taking jobs from the City of London and boosting Germany's finance sector
European Union chiefs welcome German coalition deal

But the SPD is deeply divided on whether to back her for chancellor for a third time, with opponents in the party pointing to a crumbling of support for the 155-year-old movement from nearly 35 percent of the vote in 2005 to just 20.5 during the Merkel era.

Four years ago, the majority of the party's rank and file were on board with joining Merkel's government.

The Christian Democrats and Bavarian Christian Union won a total of 246 seats out of 709, while the Social Democrats won 153, giving their proposed coalition 399 seats.

SPD has gained the top three ministries - Foreign, Finance and Labor and Social Welfare - in the new German coalition, dpa later reported. The results from that are due in early March, and that vote is now looking too close to call either way.

While Merkel and the SPD are open to the French plans for deeper eurozone integration, the SPD is more enthusiastic about some of Macron's more ambitious proposals such as a joint eurozone budget and finance minister.

That would leave only an unprecedented minority government under Merkel or a new election as options.

After weeks of negotiations, Germany's main political parties have finally reached an agreement to govern together.


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