Chancellor Angela Merkel struck a deal with Social Democrat (SPD) rivals on Friday 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 deal to revive a “grand coalition” that has governed since 2013 must be approved by an SPD congress planned for January 21. Some members fear further association with Merkel’s chancellorship could erode the influence of the party which suffered the worst result in September’s election since the modern Federal Republic was founded in 1949. “We have felt since the elections that the world will not wait for us, and in particular…we are convinced we need a new call for Europe,” Merkel, who has played a central role tackling crises over the euro and refugees, said after exploratory talks that had run through the night.
A 28-page blueprint pledged close co-operation with France to strengthen the euro zone. It also contained a promise, apparently targeting Saudi Arabia, a major buyer of German arms, not to export arms to countries involved in the war in Yemen.
The blueprint will form the basis for formal coalition talks if SPD members give the go-ahead, but it is open to revision.