Breakthrough in German coalition talks

Lester Mason
January 13, 2018

"The world will not wait for us", a weary-looking Merkel said Friday morning after 25 hours of talks, which yielded a deal opening the way to formal negotiations on the details.

The document urged Europe to take its fate into its own hands in response to USA policy shifts under Trump and the challenges posed by a stronger China and more aggressive Russian Federation.

Kramp-Karrenbauer is a member of the negotiating team for Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union in talks on a possible new government that entered their final round Thursday.

Commenting on the current political situation in the country, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that "we are now facing a situation that has never happened before in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, that is for nearly 70 years".

The latest talks come after months of failed negotiations between Merkel's conservative alliance and smaller parties, the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats, failed to form a coalition government.

SPD leader Martin Schulz said that his party's negotiators had agreed "unanimously" to recommend to the rank-and-file to back the draft coalition agreement and launch final negotiations on forming a government.

Leaders of all three parties confirmed their alignment at a press conference later in the day, with CSU leader Horst Seehofer adding that he expected a new government to be in place before Easter.

The most controversial part of the various coalition negotiations has been refugees: not so much the premise of accepting them, but the awkward and inconsistent manner they were handled once they arrived.

The in-principle pact after months of paralysis averts the unpopular prospect of snap elections for now, but there are still several hurdles to clear, some of which may prove perilous. If that succeeds, then the parties will proceed to full-blown coalition talks.

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Breakthrough in German coalition talks

The Social Democrats reportedly received commitments for hiring more care workers and increasing salaries in the sector, and for no cuts to the minimum pension level until at least 2025.

Beyond fiscal and spending issues, the parties are struggling to fend off the encroaching far right, which has seized on anger over the influx of refugees and netted a record showing at the polls in September.

Scepticism is high within the party about joining hands again with Merkel after the SPD scored a humiliating result in September s election.

France said it too welcomed the deal struck between the German Chancellor and Social Democrat (SPD) rivals to open power-sharing talks and revive a "grand coalition".

"The mood of the party rank and file with regards to a grand coalition is still grim".

"I'm very satisfied content-wise with what the CDU/CSU and SPD have reached in terms of joint policies for the future", Juncker said, referring to Merkel's Christian Democrats and allied Bavarian Christian Social Union and Schulz's Social Democrats.

On Friday, the three leaders presented a detailed outline of the path toward another grand coalition.

She now desperately needs to get the SPD to renew an alliance with her conservatives if she is to salvage her political future.

Despite the agreement, the possibility of a new coalition of Merkel's bloc with the Social Democrats, as governed Germany in the outgoing government, is still far from a done deal.


Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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