Saturday, 21 April, 2018

Angela Merkel's negotiator in car crash on way to coalition talks

Merkel strikes preliminary deal to hold power in German coalition Germany Hints At Solidarity Tax Cut
Sammy Stanley | 13 January, 2018, 05:27

The marathon negotiation session, which went on for almost 24 hours, was the final round in six days of preliminary talks among Merkel of the center-right Christian Democrats; Horst Seehofer of their conservative Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union; and Martin Schulz of the center-left Social Democrats - the three parties that have governed Germany together in a "grand coalition" since late 2013.

However, Schulz changed course after Merkel failed late past year to form an alternative coalition government with the Liberals and the Greens.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck a deal with Social Democrat (SPD) rivals yesterday to open government coalition talks, easing months of uncertainty that has undermined Germany's global role and raised questions about Dr Merkel's political future. But after coalition talks between Merkel and two other parties failed to find an agreement, the SPD changed its stance.

Conservatives, though, were pleased Friday's coalition blueprint omitted a call from the SPD's Schulz for a "United States of Europe" by 2025.

Among other things, the Social Democrats' leaders will still have to sell entering coalition talks to a party conference, and face much resistance.

It stressed the crucial role of Franco-German cooperation in that process, saying a renewal of the European Union could only succeed if Germany and France "work together with all their strength".

Though the SPD negotiators had initially agreed to the paper, the party's left-wing had made a series of demands that don't appear to have been met: raising the top income tax rate, family reunification for refugees, and a new concept for health insurance.

France and Germany are making plans to further strengthen their partnership in an attempt to once and for all dominate European Union politics. "Facing the challenges of the world a strong Europe is in Germany's best interests and this is what we, the CDU and SPD have in common".

NY may scrap its income tax for a payroll tax
The Democratic governor's plan - dubbed the No Student Goes Hungry Program - proposes a law that bans "any public act that humiliates a student who can not afford lunch".

Macron said he and Kurz, a conservative who formed a government with the far right in December, had found many "points of convergence" during their talks in Paris.

The SPD's youth movement leader believes renewing an alliance with Merkel would deal a death blow to the Social Democrats, who suffered a historic low score in September's elections. The three emerged Friday from all-night preliminary coalition talks in Berlin saying they had reached a preliminary deal.

Merkel's conservative bloc ally, Horst Seehofer, said that if Schulz's party supports the blueprint, a formal coalition agreement may be reached before Easter.

"It will be a tough day but I'm going into it with a lot of energy because the people expect us to sort it out", she said ahead of negotiations.

"It is a significant, positive, forward-looking contribution to European policy debate in Europe". Without a deal, Germany would've faced new elections.

Mujtaba Rahman of political consultancy Eurasia assigned a 35 percent probability to coalition negotiations failing and leading to an early election or a minority government.

While the agreement remains mute on details, it is clear Germany is not ready to loosen its grip on the continent's prudent fiscal policies. The Social Democrats must also put the agreement to their members, an obstacle that all three party leaders acknowledged Friday morning.

Though a challenger has yet to come forward, impatience is growing in Christian Democrat ranks about Merkel's tendency to manage crises as they arise rather than presenting a vision the party can rally behind and sell to voters. April or May is the earliest a new government could be in place.

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