Merkel says coalition govt to start work with France on trade, China, Syria war

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she would work with France to tackle issues such as trade policy and the war in Syria after the Social Democrats (SPD) voted to join a coalition government with her conservatives. Merkel welcomed the vote by a majority of SPD members that ended more than five months of political deadlock and said the right-left government must quickly get to work. “What we’re seeing and hearing every day is that Europe needs to step up and Germany needs to have a strong voice there along with France and other member states” of the European Union, Reuters quoted Merkel as saying. This includes “the very current issue of international trade policy on which many jobs depend here, the question of openness of competition with China and questions of peace and war like the scary situation in Syria,” she added.