German Social Democratic leaders beg members to back deal with Merkel

13 January, 2018, 05:07 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • German chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with her finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble in parliament in Berlin

Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday struck a deal with Social Democrat (SPD) rivals to open government coalition talks, easing months of uncertainty that has undermined Germany's global role and raised questions about her political future.

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 Social Democratic Party (SPD) has promised members a say at key junctures of the negotiation process with Merkel's CDU-CSU alliance.

But after winning an election with a reduced majority in September, she agreed to a soft cap on Germany's refugee intake in a bid to silence bitter squabbling within her conservative camp.

But both parties bled support in the September 24 election, which saw the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) enter the Bundestag lower house of parliament for the first time. The Social Democrats must also put the agreement to their members, an obstacle that all three party leaders acknowledged Friday morning.

But he reconsidered his position after Merkel failed to form a three-way coalition with the Greens and the Free Democratic Party in November. But to make a new government a reality, he must first persuade a party congress January 21 to agree to hold formal coalition negotiations.

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

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The three parties didn't officially give up Germany's target of a 40 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 compared with 1990, which a draft earlier this week had suggested they would.

Strengthen European Parliament and boost European Union's finances - Germany would be prepared to pay more into the EU budget.

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

"We have, in what feels like a long time since the election, seen that the world will not wait for us", Merkel said.

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 said the deal was "significant" and "positive" for the EU's future, while French President Emmanuel Macron said he was "satisfied and happy" that the deadlock was broken. When the agreement was announced, Kevin Kühnert, who heads the Social Democrats' influential youth wing, responded with a punning Twitter post likening the breakthrough in talks to appendicitis.

After the week of negotiations and the overnight session, a visibly exhausted Merkel told reporters that she, too, was now "optimistic that things will move forward" to forming a new coalition of the same parties that have run Germany for the past four years. Left-leaning lawmaker Hilde Mattheis said the result was "disappointing" and would produce "no new policies for more fairness and solidarity".

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