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Coali­tion deal costly one for Merkel

Shock as SPD leader shifts into cab­i­net role

- Justin Hug­gler Germany News · European Politics · UK News · Politics · Elections · Angela Merkel · Berlin · Germany · Social Democratic Party of Germany · Social Democratic Party of Germany · European Union · United States of America · Andrea Nahles · Olaf Scholz · Hamburg · France · European Financial Stability Facility

BERLIN • An­gela Merkel has agreed to a deal to form a new coali­tion gov­ern­ment in Ger­many, four months af­ter suf­fer­ing dam­ag­ing losses in elec­tions.

The chan­cel­lor Wed­nes­day reached an ac­cord with her for­mer coali­tion part­ners, the So­cial Democrats (SPD), af­ter the long­est pe­riod with­out an elected gov­ern­ment in post-war Ger­many.

“This agree­ment can be the foun­da­tion of a good and sta­ble gov­ern­ment, which our coun­try needs and which many around the world ex­pect of us,” Merkel said.

The deal could bring an end to months of un­cer­tainty in Europe’s big­gest econ­omy. But the re­lief turned to shock as Mar­tin Shulz, the SPD leader, an­nounced he would step down to be­come for­eign min­is­ter.

The deal comes at a sig­nif­i­cant cost to Merkel, who has had to re­lin­quish con­trol of three min­istries of state and agree to a num­ber of coali­tion de­mands.

And it still has to be ap­proved by the full SPD mem­ber­ship — where rebels have sworn to stop Merkel with a Mo­men­tum-style cam­paign that is sign­ing up new mem­bers to vote No.

Merkel has been fight­ing to re­main in power since Septem­ber’s dis­as­trous elec­tions and the price she pays could be heavy, with her new gov­ern­ment set to be much more ac­tive in pur­su­ing greater Euro­pean integratio­n and re­form and Schulz, the for­mer Euro­pean par­lia­ment pres­i­dent who has called for a United States of Europe, en­sconced in cab­i­net as for­eign min­is­ter.

An­drea Nahles takes over as SPD leader and is ex­pected to re­build the party, which suf­fered its worst ever re­sult in Septem­ber’s elec­tion.

At the for­eign min­istry Schulz will di­rect Ger­many’s EU pol­icy with the sup­port of Olaf Scholz, a party col­league, at the fi­nance min­istry. Scholz, the mayor of Ham­burg, will be­come a pow­er­ful fig­ure as both fi­nance min­is­ter and vicechan­cel­lor.

The coali­tion agree­ment in­cludes com­mit­ments to strength­en­ing the EU and work­ing with France on Eu­ro­zone re­form, pledg­ing to turn the Eu­ro­zone bailout fund into a full-blown Euro­pean Mon­e­tary Fund.

 ??  ?? An­gela Merkel
An­gela Merkel

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