Merkel hopes for talks with U.S. on tariffs

2018 Ferdinand Ostrop  AP      
                                               Stefan Meister

The SPD last week voted in favor of another grand coalition with Angela Merkel's center-right alliance - which includes her Christian Democrats (CDU) and her Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) - clearing the way for a new government to take office and putting an end to months of political instability.

Meanwhile, the world awaits more news on kind gestures between politicians. Those include USA tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum announced by President Donald Trump, along with threats of taxes on German automakers.

Merkel's new left-right coalition says in its joint policy paper that it welcomes and generally supports the reform proposals of Macron and the European Commission, but stays vague on some of the details.

"If this unilateral action cannot be avoided, then we must think about how we can respond in a reciprocal fashion, but first of all I'm focusing on talks and there will be plenty of opportunities for them", Merkel told a news conference.

The presidential election in Russian Federation this month offers a new chance to make progress on the Minsk peace deal to end the crisis in Ukraine, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday, ruling out lifting sanctions before tangible progress. Following a disastrous election result that came after four years as Merkel's junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats agreed to join the new government only after lengthy internal wrangling.

Merkel's designated deputy and finance minister, Olaf Scholz of the SPD, joked that the "grand coalition", forged half a year after inconclusive September elections, had "not started as a love marriage". "For my part, I once got some very good smoked fish", Merkel said. But he said that the allies "are in a position to work constructively together and govern decently".

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