German Social Democratic leaders beg members to back deal with Merkel

German Social Democratic leaders beg members to back deal with Merkel

German Social Democratic leaders beg members to back deal with Merkel

Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) have reportedly agreed in a coalition draft document that they do not want to close any chapters in Turkey's talks on accession to the European Union, nor open any new chapters, "given the state of democracy and human rights in that country".

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 a year ago, Macron said, adding that he was happy to find in the deal echoes of his own proposals.

"I think we have achieved outstanding results", Schulz told reporters.

"We want to strengthen the European Union financially, so that it can better fulfill its tasks: which is why we will take this into account during the preparation of our financial framework for the upcoming years", the 28-page document, which the two parties agreed upon, said.

But he has been forced to wait for months for a concrete response from Merkel, who has come under mounting criticism at home and overseas for her plodding reaction to Macron, aggravated by her struggle to form a new government.

The hope was to form a new government "before Easter", which falls on April 1, said the CSU's Seehofer.

About 500 refugees, a lot of them from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea, live in container homes at refugee housing Am Aschenland in Neugraben, in the outskirts of Hamburg, northern Germany.

Merkel has ruled with the SPD in a sometimes unwieldy "grand coalition" - or "GroKo", the German-language acronym - in two of her three previous terms in office, including in the last parliament from 2013-2017.

The euro jumped to a three-year high against the USA dollar after the deal was announced, reflecting the relief of analysts and the perceived importance of German leadership to the European economy.

The conservatives also performed poorly in the election, and the three coalition parties' support dropped by a total of almost 14 percentage points. The number allowed to enter the country has been set at 220,000 per year.

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".

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.

Though most European economies - and the euro - have been in good shape in recent months, the lack of German leadership was threatening to affect Brexit and stall the push for European Union reform, led most vocally by French president Emmanuel Macron.

"In the seemingly long period of time since the election, we've seen that the world is not waiting for us", said Merkel.

The party leaders agreed to a 28-page deal on Friday morning.

The two parties also stress Europe's role in peace and global responsibility in the document, clearly rejecting protectionism, isolationism and nationalism and calling for more worldwide cooperation.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called it a "significant, positive, forward-looking contribution" to the European policy debate.

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