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Merkel eyes social cohesion as she presses for new government

Abrar Hussain

On Sunday, under pressure after three months of failing to form a new ruling coalition German Chancellor vowed to address growing social divisions as she worked rapidly to build a stable German government.Merkel mapped out key priorities in her annual New Year’s address, including increased investments in security and defence, improved health care and education, and efforts to overcome growing urban-rural disparities.“The world is not waiting for us. We must create the conditions now that ensure that Germany continues to prosper in 10, 15 years,” the conservative leader said, “And Germany will only prosper if its success serves all people and improves and enriches our lives.” Merkel’s popularity has waned since her efforts to form a three-way coalition with two smaller parties collapsed in November, and a new poll released Saturday showed that nearly two-thirds of all Germans want her to resign if upcoming coalition talks with the SPD also fail.She said more Germans were concerned about social cohesion than ever before, with some lauding Germany’s diverse and open society, while others feared growing crime and violence, complained about a lack of doctors in rural areas, and worried about how to manage the influx of migrants. “Both are realities in our country: the success and the optimism, but also the fears and the doubts. For me, both are impetus,” she said.Merkel said politicians needed to address future challenges as well as the needs of all citizens, such as good jobs, improved digital access and reduced burdens for families.

Source: Reuters

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