Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

German Leaders Express Confidence on Forming New Government

German Leaders Express Confidence  on Forming New Government

BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats took a big step Friday toward forming a new German government, sealing a preliminary agreement in which they vowed to strengthen the European Union and keep a lid on the number of migrants entering the country.
The 28-page deal reached in a marathon negotiating session that lasted more than 24 hours at the end of nearly a week of talks was enough for leaders of Merkel’s two-party Union bloc and the Social Democrats to recommend moving on to formal coalition negotiations. But Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz will have to work hard to persuade a party congress Jan. 21 to endorse that move.
The agreement set out compromise positions on a wide range of issues, including taxes, education and health care. “I think we have achieved outstanding results,” Schulz told reporters. He said it was a good indicator of support that his 13-member negotiating team had decided unanimously to recommend going ahead with talks. Still, even if the negotiations then succeed, Schulz faces another challenge: a ballot of his party’s entire membership on a coalition agreement.
After the week of negotiations and the overnight session, a visibly tired Merkel told reporters that she, too, was now “optimistic that things will move forward” to forming a new coalition of the same parties that have run Germany for the past four years. (AP)