German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at SPD headquarters for talks with Social Democrats on January 11, 2018 in Berlin
Angela Merkel and the Social Democrats arrived Friday morning after more than 24 hours of negotiations to an agreement in principle for a new government in Germany, which should allow the Chancellor to remain in power.
„Yes,“ a source close to the discussions told AFP whether a compromise had been reached and validated at the highest level of party presidents.
An elected member of Chancellor Dorothee Bär’s political family also confirmed the agreement by posting a photo of the document on Twitter.
The Conservative Chancellor (CDU), her Bavarian ally Horst Seehofer (CSU) and Social Democrat Party (SPD) President Martin Schulz are expected to speak in the late morning to the press.
And this agreement in principle will still be validated in the day of Friday by the governing bodies of the three parties concerned.
This compromise is likely to allow the first European economy to break its political stalemate three and a half months after the election. And to Angela Merkel to ensure her political survival, with a possible fourth term after twelve years of power.
– Uncertain outcome –
The document drafted by the negotiators, obtained by AFP, provides in particular that the future coalition government will work with France to „strengthen“ and „reform“ the euro zone so that it is more resilient to crises.
The SPD had insisted on this point, while the Conservatives were initially more reserved.
Martin Schulz, leader of the SPD, arrives at the party headquarters for talks with the conservatives of the CDU / CSU on January 11, 2018 in Berlin
Migration policy has also been a point of contention for a long time. In the end, both sides agreed to limit the annual number of asylum seekers in the country to between 180,000 and 200,000, which the Conservatives wanted.
Germany welcomed more than a million of them in 2015 and 2016, which earned Angela Merkel a lot of criticism and allowed the far right to break into public opinion.
After a first failure in November to agree on a majority coalition with environmentalists and liberals, the Chancellor was no longer allowed to make the mistake this time if she wanted to remain at the helm of the country.
But nothing is definitive yet. Social Democrats, the decision to enter a new coalition government with the Conservatives will also receive the green light of the party delegates at a special congress on January 21 at the end very uncertain.
Then detailed negotiations on a coalition program will begin.
In the best case, a new executive will be in place only at the end of March, while all Europe is getting impatient.
The SPD had initially chosen the opposition following the legislative elections of September marked by a humiliating defeat for this party, a retreat of the major parties and the irruption of the extreme right.
The basis of the SPD, which will have the last word, can still make everything run out of steam. For she remains very skeptical about serving as a backup to the Conservatives.
– Public coffers full –
Desiring to convince the activists, Martin Schulz highlighted the themes of social justice during the talks.
He did not get everything he wanted, however.
The Conservatives refused his request to create a „citizen health insurance“, a sort of Social Security to which everyone should contribute to reduce inequalities in health between wealthy people, who enjoy private insurance, and income earners more modest, with public insurance.
In the end, the agreement only provides that employers will be more involved in financing public insurance.
Likewise, the SPD did not get the tax increases for the highest incomes it wanted.
Europe: countries without government
Germany, in full growth, has the means to be generous. With more than 38 billion budget surplus in 2017, public funds have never been more fulfilled since reunification, according to official figures released Thursday.
Even with this agreement, the political context is unfavorable for both Christian Democrats and Social Democrats.
Some media have already described their possible alliance as a „coalition of losers“ because each was sanctioned by voters in the legislative elections, marked by the breakthrough of the far right.
Both sides represent only a small majority of votes, with Angela Merkel winning a Pyrrhic victory with a historically low score.
A majority of Germans (56%) even think that the Chancellor will leave office before the end of its possible next term, according to a poll published Thursday by the daily Handelsblatt.