‘Positive for Europe’ Juncker praises German coalition deal promising to boost Brussels
The European Commission President said in Bulgaria: ”In terms of the substance I’m very happy with what the CDU/CSU and the SPD have agreed.
“It is a significant, positive, forward-looking contribution to European policy debate in Europe.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) agreed after all-night talks on Friday to a blueprint for formal coalition negotiations.
She struck a deal to open government coalition talks, easing months of uncertainty that has undermined Germany’s global role and raised questions about her political future.
But the final deal to revive a “grand coalition” that has governed since 2013 must be approved by SPD party members at a congress planned for January 21.
Some fear further association with Mrs Merkel’s chancellorship could erode the influence of the SPD which suffered the worst result in September’s election since the modern Federal Republic was founded in 1949.
Mrs Merkel said: “We have felt since the elections that the world will not wait for us, and in particular regarding Europe we are convinced we need a new call for Europe.”
Mrs Merkel, who has played a central role in tackling crises over the euro and refugees, addressed journalists after talks that had run through the night.
In a 28-page policy document agreed after all-night talks between the German parties, they backed the idea of an “investment budget” for the single currency bloc and turning the ESM bailout mechanism into a full-blown European Monetary Fund under parliamentary control and anchored in EU law.
Martin Schulz, leader of the SPD said: “Together, we are determined to use Germany’s strength, both economically and politically, to make Europe a grand project again. This is our common goal.”
France said it too welcomed the deal struck between the German Chancellor and Social Democrat (SPD) rivals to open power-sharing talks and revive a “grand coalition”.
French spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said: “Good news seems to be coming out of Germany. This deal is important for the stability and future of Franco-German relations, but especially Europe.”
As Europe’s largest economy and pre-eminent power broker, Germany is crucial to the region’s fortunes. Berlin’s partners are eagerly awaiting a new government to help drive forward Brexit talks, euro zone reform and EU diplomatic initiatives.
Mr Macron was elected last May on a promise to overhaul the EU, which is showing new economic vigour after nearly a decade of financial crisis but has been shaken by Britain’s decision to leave the bloc and the shift to “America First” policies under President Donald Trump.
Days after the German election in September, Mr Macron spelled out sweeping reform plans in a speech in Paris, calling for a euro zone budget to help the bloc cope with external economic shocks and closer cooperation on defence and migration.
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 abroad for her plodding reaction, aggravated by her failure to form a new government.
Weakened by an election setback in September, Mrs Merkel turned to the left-leaning SPD to renew their grand coalition after the collapse in November of talks on a three-way coalition with the Greens and Free Democrats (FDP).
Germany is unfamiliar with the long negotiations that mark coalition building in many neighbouring countries. The dominance of the SPD and the conservatives long ensured smooth government transition. But elections last September saw the rise of the right-wing Alternative for Germany which upset the arithmetic.
The Chancellor was eager to avoid any repeat elections or attempt at a minority government.
Horst Seehofer, head of the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said a government could be in place by Easter – March or April.