Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

'Breakthrough' agreement reached on German coalition talks

'Breakthrough' agreement reached on German coalition talks

France and Germany are making plans to further strengthen their partnership in an attempt to once and for all dominate European Union politics.

After 18 hours of talks and still no agreement in sight between Merkel s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats, tired negotiators said a result would likely not emerge before dawn.

The document is expected to form the basis for formal coalition talks between the parties that could begin later this month if grassroots party members give a green light.

Janes said this could be looked at through a "bifocal lens" - a weaker Germany would mean there would be less of a European united front on, say, trade, in the E.U.

The results of the coalition talks were quickly responded positively by major European leaders, who have been waiting impatiently for a new German government, as the biggest Eurozone economy plays a leading role in EU affairs.

Merkel's conservative bloc ally, Horst Seehofer, said that if Schulz's party supports the blueprint, a formal coalition agreement may be reached before Easter.

The German Chancellor and Social Democrats leader Martin Schulz held overnight talks in Berlin, during which they hammered out a 28-page paper outlining their compromise positions on issues including taxes, migration and healthcare. The euro bought $1.2118, trading around its highest level since early January three years ago, according to FactSet data. This near-term reaction adds to gains seen Thursday after a shift in European Central Bank messaging that was deemed to tilt more hawkishly.

The chancellor, who commands wide respect overseas after more than 12 years in power, needs coalition talks to succeed to avoid further erosion of her personal authority and Germany's global influence, not least in the EU. "It's a breakthrough that leaves a bad taste in the mouth".

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Fiscally conservative members of Merkel's Christian Democrats are wary of France pushing Berlin into European reforms at increased cost to the German taxpayer.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats on Friday pledged to work closely with France to strengthen the euro zone. "Together we are determined to use Germany's strength, both economically and politically, to make Europe a great project again".

Schulz said at the press conference that the paper reflects the desire for renewal, in families, education and the digital challenge, adding social cohesion must be strengthened.

But the success of the populist Alternative for Germany, which became the first far-right party to win seats in parliament since World War II, made it impossible for Merkel to command a majority without the support either of the Social Democrats or of a disparate group of minor parties.

While urging caution until the deal had been ratified by the parties' rank-and-file, Macron said it hoped it would yield a "strong and stable government" led by Merkel.

"Nothing is fixed", said Andreas Scheuer, the general secretary of the Christian Social Union, the Bavaria-only branch of Merkel's Union bloc.

"The government would have to avoid all the controversial issues which would be not an ideal situation, but it would also avoid the second alternative, which would be new elections", he said, adding that no one wants to go back to the electorate now as "they're anxious that they would suffer additional losses and the situation in the parliament would be even more confused".

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