Berlin, February 7: Political leaders in Germany have reached a breakthrough in talks to form a new coalition government, following months of uncertainty after elections in September failed to produce an overall majority for any party.
SPD leader Martin Schulz said earlier this week that his party had ensured an agreement with the conservatives would put an end to “forced austerity” and set up an investment budget for Germany’s eurozone policy.
Handing over the crucial finance ministry suggests the conservatives had to make big concessions to get the SPD to agree to renew the ‘grand coalition’ that has governed Germany since 2013 and secure Merkel’s fourth term in office.
A negotiating source said the SPD would have the finance and labor ministries while media reported the party would also secure the justice, family and environment ministries.
Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) will get the economy and defense ministries while their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), will provide the interior minister in the form of Horst Seehofer, who talks tough on migration, media reported. The news agency DPA said the conservative acting finance minister, Peter Altmaier, would become economy minister.
The agreement should allow German to resume its leading role in international affairs and, at least for now, put an end to questions about how long Merkel will stay in her job.