Published: Tue, March 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Germany to start work on trade, China, Syria war - Merkel

Germany to start work on trade, China, Syria war - Merkel

Members of Germany's Social Democratic Party have voted in favour of joining a coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc.

The far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which would be the biggest opposition party in Germany as the SPD joins the government, vowed to go after Merkel's CDU over its 'continuation of the immigration policy without imposing a limit'.

Conservatives are still smarting from Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to let an SPD politician serve as finance minister, a job long held by budget hawk Wolfgang Schaeuble, who was known for his focus on budgetary discipline.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement a the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) headquarters in Berlin, Germany, March 5, 2018.

SPD acting leader Olaf Scholz said on Saturday turn-out in the poll had been "very, very high" after an intense internal campaign that pitted the party's pro-coalition leadership against its more radical youth wing, which campaigned for "No".

The SPD's approval ended the five-month-long political stalemate and cleared way for Germany's new government after the September 24 Federal Parliament elections, in which both of the two blocs suffered the worst turnovers since 1949.

Senior conservative Jens Spahn, seen as one possible successor to Merkel, warned the SPD on Monday against obstructing government policy in a re-run of the coalition that has ruled since 2013.

Merkel's CDU already named ministers last week with former environment minister Peter Altmaier taking over as new minister for the economy and energy.

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German government spokesman Steffen Seibert says such measures "would sorely affect worldwide trade flows", European industries and in particular "workers and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic".

Meanwhile, Germany's deputy energy minister Rainer Baake has resigned from his post, citing his disappointment over the climate policy plans in the new coalition agreement.

However, for the two coalition partners - and, more widely, for Germany's European partners - relief that the deal has been done will be tempered by low expectations for the incoming coalition.

"Criticism of the grand coalition remains", he tweeted after the ballot result."The SPD needs to be more like it has been in recent weeks and less like it has been in recent years - the Jusos will ensure this".

All that "requires us to begin work quickly in the government", she said.

Merkel also appreciates the importance of a future government for Europe.

A "No" from a membership that is wary of repeating the bruising experience of the past four years of "grand coalition" would pitch Germany into greater uncertainty at a time when the European Union is looking to its largest country for leadership on a host of economic and security issues.

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