Merkel welcomes SDP vote for coalition deal

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Berlin, March 5 (IANS) German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday vowed to ensure that her new Cabinet will work for the citizens of Germany, providing the country with a strong voice in Europe and standing alongside France when facing global challenges such as international trade.

At a press conference here, Merkel extended her congratulations to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) for its internal ballot, in which members backed a third edition of the “grand coalition” between her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the CDU’s Bavarian partner the Christian Social Union, and the SDP.

“I welcome the result of the SDP’s membership vote,” Merkel said. “I believe this constitutes a very, very good foundation for a joint government work.”

With the German Parliament likely voting her fourth term as Chancellor on March 14, Merkel said that “we need Europe, we need a strong German voice”, to work along with France and other European partners to face issues like the Syrian war, China’s competitive challenge or the new guidelines on international trade, Efe news reported.

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Without explicitly mentioning US President Donald Trump’s plans of slapping trade tariffs on US’s steel and aluminium imports, Merkel said that many jobs in Germany depended on Europe’s response, underscoring the need to have a Cabinet ready to act soon.

Merkel said it was important for the German Cabinet to begin working as early as possible on implementing the coalition’s basic policy agreements, which were tantamount to “a book full of mandates and tasks”.

Six months after the election, she added, the citizens had the right to a government, which is why it was important for it to start working “in a matter of days”.

The future Cabinet ministers, Merkel warned, had a great task ahead of them: to develop the projects focused on future jobs, preserving the welfare state and providing equal living conditions in Germany.

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–IANS

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