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February 8, 2018
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The four-month deadlock following the inconclusive German federal elections was brought closer to its end with the coalition agreement between the CDU/CSU and the SPD. The last hurdle to Merkel's re-election is now the SPD membership ballot which is expected to give its approval, though at a thin margin. The agreement foresees significant investment in infrastructure and education but caters too much to permanent spending on social and pension policy given the largely cyclical nature of the budgetary leeway. Europe is supposed to take centre stage in the would-be coalition's policy – a signal which matters for Martin Schulz but less so for the member ballot and the German voter. The coalition commits itself to the transformation of the ESM and more spending on Europe but the red lines will only emerge when the details will be tabled. Surprisingly, the SPD will hold most of the major portfolios in the cabinet. With the foreign and the finance ministry the SPD got hold on the key portfolios for shaping the European policy course, although the key decisions will still be left to the chancellor. [more]
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