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Could Germany have a deal?

Could Germany have a deal?

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".

The terms of the deal are more favourable to the European project than previous attempts for a German coalition government did at the end of past year, Macron said, adding that he was happy to find in the deal echoes of his own proposals. But Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz will have to work hard to persuade a party congress January 21 to endorse that move.

On Friday, Schulz said that his party's negotiators agreed to recommend to the rank-and-file to back the draft coalition agreement. Then, if those talks are successful, he must steer a coalition deal through a ballot of the full party membership.

While the main issues were refugees, climate goals, social security, and the relationship with Europe, taxes and the ability to pay for new programs appear to have been the sticking point overnight.

"If we succeed, these could be four very, very good years - I am already speaking of these years because I believe we will succeed", he said.

The Social Democrats had initially ruled out another coalition with Merkel after poor results in the election on 24 September, but reconsidered after her talks with two other parties failed. That decision was popular with members. Merkel's first attempt to form what Germans refer to as a "Jamaica" coalition with the Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) collapsed in November.

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

"We want to ensure economic and political power for Germany is put towards creating a stronger Europe", he added. "We made that the basis of our work". But elections last September saw the rise of the right-wing Alternative for Germany which upset the arithmetic.

Merkel Schulz coalition talks

The parties agreed to limit numbers of refugees and migrants coming to Germany to around 200,000 following arrival of more than 1million asylum seekers since 2015. The number allowed to enter the country has been set at 220,000 per year.

The Social Democrats reportedly received commitments for hiring more care workers and increasing salaries in the sector, and for no cuts to the minimum pension level until at least 2025. He didn't secure an increase in the top income tax rate that his party proposed. Germany, EU's biggest economy, supports the ambitious reform drive of French President Emmanuel Macron and the European Commission but stays vague on some of the details. The main policy points they've agreed on are: strengthening and reforming the 19-member euro zone (including paying more into the European Union budget); capping refugee intake to 200,000 per year; and not increasing taxes.

"In the long time since the elections, we have seen that the world is not waiting for us", Merkel told reporters on Friday.

The SPD's youth wing chief Kevin Kuehnert said he would embark on a national tour to press his case against a new grand coalition, known as "GroKo" in German political shorthand.

Ms. Merkel used her statement to talk about the many technical solutions included in the agreement.

France and Bulgaria, which now holds the rotating European Union presidency, welcomed Friday's developments.

If that happens, it could still take several more months before a new government would be in place.

Boost Franco-German cooperation with projects such as new centre for artificial intelligence.

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