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On New Year's eve, Merkel declares Europe top priority for new government

Merkel will say that 27 states in Europe must be persuaded more strongly than ever to hold together as a community

AFP/PTI  |  Berlin 

On New Year's eve, Merkel declares Europe top priority for new government
German acting Chancellor Angela Merkel poses for photographs after the television recording of her annual New Year's speech at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. Photo: PTI/AP

will tell Germans that European co-operation is "the decisive question of the coming years" in a New Year's Eve broadcast today, as her eye tricky coalition talks.

Merkel will say that "27 states in must be persuaded more strongly than ever to hold together as a community," according to a scb ript of the annual televised address released by her office.

is on course to leave the bloc in March 2019 after last year's referendum vote for Brexit -- leaving the with 27 members.

As for Germany, its "future is bound indivisibly with the future of Europe," the will declare, recalling that hopes to work with France's to future-proof the

"The question will be whether we Europeans can represent our values inwardly and outwardly, with self-confidence and with solidarity," she will add.

Brexit and fights over upholding democratic norms and sharing responsibility for refugees are weighing on continental cooperation.

must be economically strong and fair, as well as able to "protect our external borders and the security of our citizens," according to the text.

Merkel and Macron vowed in mid-December to deliver a plan to reform the 19-nation euro single currency area.

Divisions persist among eurozone members, with wealthy northern countries such as Germany, and the loath to accept risk-sharing with states they see as less fiscally disciplined like France, or

At home, Merkel is exploring a possible coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats in order to form a after a tricky election in September.

She will promise in Sunday's speech "to form a stable new for quickly in the new year", backed by a majority of parliamentarians.

"The world is not waiting for us," the will say.

"We have to create the conditions now for to do well in the coming 10 or 15 years."

One round of talks with the Greens and pro- business Free Democrats failed in November. That left Merkel the unappetising option of renewing a "grand coalition" between her centre-right CDU and the centre-left (SPD).

Politicians and commentators expect it could be March before a new is in place.

First Published: Sun, December 31 2017. 19:08 IST
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