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

13 January 2018, 05:06 | Darnell Patrick

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

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats pledged today to work closely with France to strengthen the euro zone, in Berlin's first substantive response to President Emmanuel Macron's ambitious European Union reform proposals.

The leaders of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc and the center-left SPD agreed on January 12 on the basis to move ahead with coalition negotiations, after marathon overnight talks.

Merkel's conservatives had said they want to have a government in place by the end of March.

"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. It must now be voted on by the SPD party conference later this month, where there is likely to be resistance from members who believe a coalition would further damage their electoral appeal. "But I don't think we need a new instrument to do so", he said.

Ms. Merkel used her statement to talk about the many technical solutions included in the agreement.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni commented via Twitter that the agreement between Merkel and Schulz was "a good item of news for Europe".

The deal will lead to the formation of another "grand coalition" between Germany's two main political parties.

The progress in stabilizing Germany's government propelled the euro to a three-year high versus the dollar to trade at $1.2122 as of 11:09 a.m.in Frankfurt.

The section on Europe, entitled, A New Awakening for Europe, is the most concrete response so far from Berlin to French President Emmanuel Macron's ideas for reforming the European Union, spelled out days after the German election in September in a speech at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

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

The conservatives also performed poorly in the election, and the three coalition parties' support dropped by a total of almost 14 percentage points.

They spoke of a "fresh start" for Germany, and Mr Schulz said that in Europe, "we are determined to deploy Germany's strength".

In return, reports indicated that the Bavarian sister party of Merkel's CDU had succeeded in its goal to limit the number of family members who can be reunited with refugees that have been granted asylum in Germany.

Pledges to spend more in poorer regions and allow up to 1,000 family members each month to join refugees already living in Germany also seemed created to placate SPD members distrustful of governing with Merkel again.

The SPD party base had to be mobilized, Bülow said, to "stop this grand coalition from within Social Democrats".

The party leaders agreed to a 28-page deal on Friday morning.

Although Merkel's Christian Democrats differ with many of French President Emmanuel Macron's proposals for sweeping reforms of the European Union, Merkel expressed hope they would hammer out compromises to address major challenges facing the bloc.

The two parties also stress Europe's role in peace and global responsibility in the document, clearly rejecting protectionism, isolationism and nationalism and calling for more worldwide cooperation.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker called it a "very significant [and] positive.contribution to the European debate".

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