Analysis of the Coalition Agreement How Merkel's New Government Intends to Govern

Delegates read copies of the coalition contract during an extraordinary party convention of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) in Berlin on Sunday.
REUTERS

Delegates read copies of the coalition contract during an extraordinary party convention of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) in Berlin on Sunday.

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Part 6: Defense, Foreign Policy, Development


The new coalition is aiming for continuity when it comes to foreign policy and relations with the European Union. When it comes to European economic policy, the coalition commits itself to competition within the common market and rejects protectionism.

The government backs the independence of the European Central Bank and aspires to an EU-wide banking regulation in the light of the financial crisis.

It stipulates that EU accession talks with prospective members should be carried out with an open mind, a formulation meant to steer against opposition within both the CDU and CSU to Turkish EU membership. Should the negotiations with Turkey ultimately fail, the coalition agreement says that a privileged partnership should be established.

The second pillar of Germany's foreign policy remains its relationship with the United States. The coalition would like to see the United Nations strengthened and reiterates Germany's willingness to take on a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

When it comes to Germany's mission in Afghanistan, the coalition says that the responsibility for security should be increasingly handed over to Afghan forces, in order to create the conditions for a Bundeswehr withdrawal. No date for a final withdrawal of German forces is given.

The future Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle announced that he will hold talks with allies so that Germany can be "free of nuclear weapons." He was referring to the remaining nuclear weapons that the Americans have at their bases in Germany.

The coalition is keeping mandatory military conscription but shortening it from nine to six months.

When it comes to development policy the FDP has abandoned its demands to integrate the Development Ministry into the Foreign Ministry. Instead, Westerwelle wants to see foreign and development policy "synchronized."

The coalition agreement states that foreign policy should be led by values and interests. And that should also apply to development policy.

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