German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union, on Friday agreed upon a blueprint for formal negotiations with its former coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party, to form a new government, BBC reported.
Merkel and Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz told a press conference they were optimistic that a new “grand coalition” could be formed. “We have realised that the world isn’t waiting for us,” Merkel said, according to The Guardian. “We are convinced that Europe needs a fresh start and have developed the right ideas to go with it.”
The 2017 German election saw the worst performance by the Christian Democratic Union and Social Democratic Party in 50 years. The Christian Democratic Union-Christian Social Union alliance won just 249 seats in the 709-seat Bundestag, while the Social Democratic Party won 153 seats. Far-right party Alternative for Germany won 94 seats.
In a 28-page agreement, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union agreed to Social Democratic Party demands for an equalisation of health insurance contributions made by employees and employers. In return, the Social Democratic Party agreed to to allow a limit on the number of family members who can be reunited with refugees who have sought asylum in Germany. Christian Democrat and Social Democrat leaders also agreed to lower the tax surcharge levied in connection with the 1990 reunification of east and west Germany.