Merkel pledges 'fresh start' for Europe with new government

Cheryl Sanders
January 13, 2018

Left party chairwoman Sahra Wagenknecht said the deal would perpetuate "blatant social injustice", including Germany's precarious low-wage sector and poverty in old age, while business raked in "gushing dividends".

At the start of the final day of exploratory talks that could lead to formal negotiations, Merkel said it would be an arduous day but she recognised that Germans expected results.

Merkel will be meeting in a series of talks with SPD leader Martin Schulz until Thursday. The coalition paper foresees the new government drawing up a timetable for phasing out coal power by the end of this year. Then, if those talks are successful, he must steer a coalition deal through a ballot of the full party membership.

He said his party wanted to ensure that the new government was committed "above all to working toward renewal of the European Union".

A blueprint for formal negotiations was agreed between Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and their former coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD) almost four months after elections were held September. That decision was popular with members.

Mujtaba Rahman of political consultancy Eurasia assigned a 35 percent probability to coalition negotiations failing and leading to an early election or a minority government. At the same time, Ms. Merkel seemed to give up on the notion of limits on accepting more refugees; she said in 2015 that she wasn't quite sure if Germany's borders could still be protected as they once were. "We will work very swiftly and very intensively", she added.

Friday's agreement states that the number of new asylum-seekers shouldn't exceed a range of 180,000-220,000 annually.

However, the Social Democrats have more leverage this time round.

The party's leaders are all too familiar with each other.

Lift threshold for top income tax rate of 42 percent to 60,000 euros a year from 53,700 euros.

Merkel highlighted promises to hire 15,000 more police officers and 2,000 people to strengthen the justice system.

The party's leader, Martin Schulz, envisions Germany as part of a "United States of Europe".

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

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. "We are convinced that we need a new awakening for Europe". "But we carried out the talks in spirit of finding a solution".

Rules to attract skilled immigrants, though parties at odds on what they should call such a law.

Germany inches towards a new government after Angela Merkel strikes deal with SPD to enter formal coalition talks.

"This is far better than what "Jamaica" wanted to do".

Despite the two sides' apparent commitment to keeping it together, the latest opinion polls suggest that a potential new grand coalition enjoys little favour with Germans.

Kevin Kuehnert, the head of the party's youth wing, criticized "cheap compromises".

Berlin is willing to agree a higher German contribution to fill the budget hole left by the UK's departure, the paper said, without indicating by how much. Another lawmaker, Frank Schwabe, described the deal on migrant's relatives as "shabby".

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