Merkel's conservatives and Social Democrats pledge to work closely with France

Doug Carpenter
January 13, 2018

The Christian Democrat Union of Chancellor, Angela Merkel (CDU), and social Democracy of Martin Schulz (SPD), have reached first thing this Friday morning a principle of agreement that lays groundwork for forging a new great coalition like one that ruled In Germany so far.

After a marathon of more than 24 hours of talks, leaders of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, her Bavarian sister party and the Social Democrats hammered out an agreement that outlines a possible alliance.

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

After waiting since September for a response from Berlin, Paris welcomed Friday's paper as "important for the stability and future of Franco-German relations, but especially Europe". "In addition, more should be invested in apartments, in traffic and in the energy transition", she added.

The common European foreign and security policy must be strengthened in the sense of a peace power Europe, says the document, calling for strengthened cooperation in security and defense policy (PESCO) and bringing it to life.

The SPD's youth wing chief Kevin Kuehnert said he would embark on a national tour to press his case against a new grand coalition, known as "GroKo" in German political shorthand. It said the parties are committed to "strengthening social cohesion in our country and overcoming the divisions that have arisen".

Limit to 1,000 number of refugees who will be able to join ir family living in Germany.

" close partnership with France, we want to sustainably strengthen and reform the Eurozone so that the euro can better withstand global crises", the paper reads.

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 coalition negotiations probably won't be easier than the exploratory talks".

But SPD leaders will have a harder time convincing members that they should approve the pact at a January 21 party congress and again in a postal vote at the end of formal coalition negotiations.

Social Democrats spokesman Serkan Agci said there had been a "breakthrough" agreed by party leaders but said final revisions were still being made on the document by negotiating teams, which would also need approval. In spite of this outcome a working coalition is still a way off.

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

The deal "smells strongly of a continuation of the governing style we know from the last grand coalition, which didn't do much good for society or for the SPD", he said.

Seehofer's CSU, which has taken a hard line on migration, has sought to reinforce its law-and-order profile in the face of a challenge from the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, which entered parliament for the first time in September.

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.

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