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German citizens promised tax relief by likely coalition

German citizens promised tax relief by likely coalition”

Merkel, still widely respected overseas after more than 12 years in power, is scrambling to prevent a further erosion of her personal authority at home and end months of uncertainty that have started to weaken Germany's worldwide influence.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said her conservatives reached a breakthrough deal Friday with Germany's second biggest party, the Social Democrats, to build a new coalition government to give Europe a "fresh start". "That s why I think we have a good chance", said Kuehnert.

A blueprint for formal negotiations was agreed between Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and their former coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD) almost four months after elections were held September.

Also, the deal avoids the risk of another election, which would have raised the prospect of more gains by populist parties such as the far-right AfD.

Germany is one step closer to putting a government in place, after parliamentary elections in September 2017 left the Bundestag fragmented and without a clear majority. That decision was popular with members. Merkel's first attempt to form what Germans refer to as a "Jamaica" coalition with the Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) collapsed in November. The heads of the coalition parties also ruled out the tax increases earlier demanded by the SDP. "The paper we produced is not a superficial paper, but shows that we worked hard on it".

Friday's agreement states that the number of new asylum-seekers shouldn't exceed a range of 180,000-220,000 annually.

France and Germany are making plans to further strengthen their partnership in an attempt to once and for all dominate European Union politics. Any coalition pact will have to cover the gamut from left-wing SPD members to the socially conservative CSU in Bavaria.

Angela Merkel with Horst Seehofer left and Martin Schulz after exploratory talks about forming a new coalition government at the SPD headquarters in Berlin Germany

Led by Merkel and Schulz, the two sides have been sounding each other out since Sunday to determine if there's enough common ground to forge a joint platform on policies from migration and climate to deeper integration of the euro area and relations with Emmanuel Macron's France.

The centre-left SPD is demanding more spending to help the disadvantaged, but Merkel's conservatives want to keep the country's budget balanced as they argue that they are saving for the ageing population's future. Both parties agreed earlier this week to abandon Germany's goal of cutting its carbon emissions by 40%, from 1990 levels, but 2020. Analysts have singled out the rise in populist, euroskeptic parties in many countries as one of the key risks to growth and markets in Europe.

Merkel now leads a caretaker government, limiting her ability to take major policy initiatives as French President Emmanuel Macron pushes an ambitious European reform agenda.

"We're keeping our eye on finding the right policies for Germany", Merkel told reporters in Berlin as talks resumed. "Rather, it is always also a responsibility for Europe, and for reliability, partnership and engagement in global politics", he said. "We'll talk about that today, though fundamentally we're in agreement".

France and Bulgaria, which now holds the rotating European Union presidency, welcomed Friday's developments.

"I am very satisfied with the content", Juncker told a press conference in Bulgaria on Friday, describing the deal's section on the future of the European Union as a "very significant, positive, constructive, forward-looking, purposeful contribution".



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