Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Germany's Social Democrats party board approves Merkel coalition deal

Germany's Social Democrats party board approves Merkel coalition deal

Almost four months after Germany's general election, chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) have hammered out a blueprint for forming a new government with the Social Democratic party.

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.

But the final deal to revive a "grand coalition" that has governed since 2013 must be approved by SPD party members at a congress planned for January 21.

There were also compromises on tax and employer-funded health insurance, and a plan to push for greater financial European Union integration.

The hope was to form a new government "before Easter", which falls on April 1, said Seehofer. The deal was welcomed by Germany's European allies, but her prospective partner now faces a tough task to sell it to skeptical supporters.

The deal, hailed as a "breakthrough", was reached after a gruelling 24 hours of negotiations - and nearly four months without a government in Germany.

Despite the agreement, potential pitfalls remain, including upcoming votes by sceptical SPD delegates and members that could yet derail plans for another left-right "grand coalition" - the constellation that has ruled Germany for the past four years and remains in charge as a caretaker government.

"I think we achieved an excellent result", Schulz said.

Merkel defended the deal, saying it sets the stage for ensuring Germany's prosperity for the next 10 to 15 years and for the "relaunch of Europe" in partnership with France.

SPD party members still need to formally approve coalition talks before they can begin.

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Weakened by an election setback in September, Mrs Merkel turned to the left-leaning SPD to renew their grand coalition after the collapse in November of talks on a three-way coalition with the Greens and Free Democrats (FDP).

The euro climbed to a three-year high after news of the breakthrough in the talks.

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

"The agreement between Merkel and Schulz forms the basis for a new coalition government in Germany".

Strengn cohesion with Europe to play an active role in strengning European integration.

They pledged to fight tax dumping and evasion in Europe, pushing for "fair taxation of big companies" including the internet giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, and called for unspecified minimum rates for corporate tax.

Though most European economies - and the euro - have been in good shape in recent months, the lack of German leadership was threatening to affect Brexit and stall the push for European Union reform, led most vocally by French president Emmanuel Macron.

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

"It was clear to us from the beginning that it wouldn't be easy to carry out these exploratory talks", Social Democratic leader Martin Schulz told reporters in Berlin on Friday.

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