Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

What's next for Germany after Merkel's coalition breakthrough?

What's next for Germany after Merkel's coalition breakthrough?

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday welcomed a deal in Germany between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Social Democrat (SPD) that paves the way for a coalition government, saying its provisional terms were good for Europe.

Following all-night negotiations in Berlin, Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), her Bavarian-based allies the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) produced a 28-page document outlining positions on a range of issues including migration, the Eurozone and taxes.

"We Social Democrats, in our (leadership) committee, decided unanimously to recommend ... to the party congress to give the party leadership a mandate to pursue coalition negotiations to form a government", Schulz added.

The 28-page deal was reached in a marathon negotiating session that lasted 24 hours at the end of almost a week of talks.

The blueprint will next be presented to party members for approval.

The deal reached by Merkel and the SPD on Friday pledges close cooperation with France on strengthening the euro zone, in Berlin's first substantive response to Macron's proposals.

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Left party chairwoman Sahra Wagenknecht said the deal would perpetuate "blatant social injustice", including Germany's precarious low-wage sector and poverty in old age, while business raked in "gushing dividends".

But he has been forced to wait for months for a concrete response from Mrs Merkel, who has come under mounting criticism at home and overseas for her plodding reaction, aggravated by her failure to form a new government.

The chancellor is under pressure to succeed after her attempt to patch together a coalition with the Green party and the pro-market Free Democrats failed in November.

The German news boosted the euro, which has also gone from strength-to-strength over the past 12 months, amid a series of elections in member states.

The three coalition parties' support dropped by a cumulative total of almost 14 percentage points in the election.

Cap at 1,000 a month the number of people who will be allowed to join their family now living as refugees in Germany.

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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.

Prominent Social Democrat opponents of a new "grand coalition" of Germany's biggest parties weren't placated by Friday's deal and vowed to keep fighting it. The coalition blueprint starts with the topic of Europe and includes pledges to strengthen common European Union foreign and defence policy.

"In the seemingly long period of time since the election, we've seen that the world is not waiting for us", said Merkel.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was "very satisfied" with the content of the deal.

In the document, the German parties called for "a new awakening for Europe" and pledged to work closely with France to achieve this, but remained vague on the details.

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