Published: Thu, February 08, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Merkel agrees coalition deal for Germany

Merkel agrees coalition deal for Germany

Negotiations to form a grand coalition - known as GroKro in German - have dragged on far longer than expected as the two sides worked to iron out the details about the composition of the next German government.

Schulz is reportedly planning to hand his party leadership to former labour minister Andrea Nahles and move to the foreign ministry.

German media reported that Social Democrat party leader Martin Schulz will serve as foreign minister, Hamburg mayor Olaf Scholz will oversee finance, and Horst Seehofer-chief of the Bavarian Christian Social Union-will get interior.

However, the SPD's 464,000 members will be asked to ratify the deal, and could yet reject it in a postal vote whose result is due to be announced on 2 March.

Talking to reporters ahead of final round of coalition negotiations on Tuesday, Merkel said her conservative bloc CDU/CSU and Social Democratic Party had not yet reached an agreement on a number of key topics, including healthcare and labor law.

Senior European Union officials welcomed Wednesday's agreement in Berlin to form a new left-right grand coalition government, calling the long-awaited announcement a boost for the EU as a whole.

The deal, under which the two partners will share what they considered as the most crucial ministries for themselves, will however to be approved by SPD members in the coming weeks. But she had to make heavy concessions to secure a deal, giving up control of the three most powerful ministries.

"Regardless of whether a ministry is led by the Social Democrats or the (Christian Democratic) Union, you can only spend the money you have", Merkel said.

2-year-old found frozen to death on porch
Results from an autopsy are expected soon - the medical examiner's office however said she suffered from severe hypothermia. The girl's mother frantically called 911 around 3:30 p.m., screaming that her daughter was freezing outside on the porch.

"Germany would again assume an active and leading role within the European Union", he told the press conference.

Both Mr Schulz and Mrs Merkel have been under pressure to see off a challenge by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which became the third-biggest party in September's election.

The 177-page coalition agreement was concluded on Wednesday morning after a night of discussions on the final sticking point, job contracts and doctors pay.

In a draft version of the coalition pact seen by AFP, the parties agreed to support Macron's reform drive and tentatively backed his idea of a eurozone investment budget.

Mrs Merkel's new coalition government will increase spending on pensions, schools and the country's internet infrastructure.

The SPD however won assurances that family reunifications for refugees would resume in August, restricted to 1,000 people a month.

On defence spending too, both sides remained at odds as the finish line neared with the conservatives more open than the SPD to raising military spending closer to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation targets, as pushed for by US President Donald Trump.

"I am still interested in making quick progress, but we want to give Germany a stable government, and a stable government involves a durable coalition deal that is agreeable to all", he said.

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