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German parties to announce coalition deal

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz has moved closer to becoming German chancellor after agreeing on a coalition deal that aims to modernise Europe’s largest economy, accelerate its green transition and bring the curtain down on the Angela Merkel era.

The centre-left Social Democrats (SPDR) say they will present their three-way agreement with the ecologist Greens and the libertarian Free Democrats (FOP) at a news conference in Berlin on Wednesday afternoon local time following two months of talks.

The deal will install Germany’s first three-way federal coalition government since the 1950s and end 16 years of Merkel-led conservative government, marking a new era for relations with Europe and the rest of the world.

The alliance – named a traffic light coalition after the three parties’ respective colours – has a majority in the lower house of parliament and hopes the government will be sworn in early next month after the parties ratify the coalition pact.

It has immediate challenges, with Germany facing its worst COVID-19 surge yet and Europe grappling with the fallout from Brexit and a crisis on the EU’s border with Belarus.

Sources told Reuters on Tuesday the parties had agreed to commit to a coal phase-out by 2030 and to end power generation from gas by 2040, reflecting the coalition’s focus on accelerating climate-protection measures.

Presiding over what could be her final cabinet meeting, Merkel bade her colleagues farewell, and Schulz presented the EU’s longest-serving leader with a tree to plant in her garden, according to a person at the meeting.

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