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Merkel pledges quick government formation, Germany-France cooperation in new year

Xinhua,December 31, 2017 Adjust font size:

BERLIN, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed in her New Year message to be broadcast Sunday to form a stable government and work with France in furthering the European integration process in the year 2018.

In the message available beforehand to German media, Merkel called for cohesion among German people, saying that "we will become more aware of what holds us together."

She said she knew that many German citizens were currently worried about cohesion in Germany, and that "some even talk about a rift that goes through our society."

It is unprecedented in the history of modern Germany that three months after the federal elections the country doesn't have a new government.

Following a huge setback in voting for Merkel's conservative union and the breakdown of exploratory talks for a coalition government with the Greens and the Free Democratic Party, exploratory talks with the Social Democrats for renewed Grand Coalition was scheduled for Jan. 7.

The Sept. 24 elections also witnessed the rise of the far-right populist Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), which became the third largest party in the German federal parliament by garnering over 12 percent of the votes, driving political discussions in the country increasingly fiercer.

"I am committed to this mission -- and also especially the work to quickly establish a stable government for Germany in the new year," said Merkel.

"The world is not waiting for us," Merkel added. Now the conditions would have to be created for Germany to prosper even in 15 years. The guiding principle of the market economy is a good compass, the German chancellor said, adding that the important thing is not only to secure and create jobs and to prepare society for digital progress, but also to put families first and provide dignified care.

Merkel also voiced Germany's commitment to European integration, saying the future of Germany is inextricably linked to the future of Europe, and calling for Germany-France cooperation in the efforts.

In his September speech delivered at the Sorbonne University, French President Emmanuel Macron put forward a comprehensive and ambitious plan to reform the European Union (EU). However, Germany in vacancy of a new government could not make a clear and strong response at present.

Merkel said the EU member countries need more than ever to stick together as one community. That will be crucial in the coming years.

"It will be about whether we Europeans in the global and digital world express our values in solidarity and self-assurance both internally and externally, and whether we work for an economically successful and fair Europe and consequently for the protection of our external borders as well as for the security of Europe citizens," said Merkel.

"Germany and France want to work together to make this happen and thus help to make Europe fit for the future," she said. Enditem