The coalition agreement in Berlin is step towards giving Germany a new government. But Angela Merkel’s future rests in the hands of her prospective partner party

Crisis? What crisis? With its buoyant economy, increasing industrial output, renewed export boom and its record low unemployment, Germany looks to be getting along fine without the little matter of a government. This week, official data in Berlin showed the workshop of Europe’s economy returning to something like full speed. Output has registered its best monthly rise since 2009, while Germany’s trade surplus has widened the way it did in the days before the eurozone crisis. Now even the nearly four-month post-election absence of a government in Berlin is being dealt with, after Angela Merkel and the social democrats reached agreement on Friday morning on a programme for a new coalition government.

All this renewed stability is good news for Germany, and thus for the European Union, and thus also, in a Brexit context, perhaps for Britain too. After the rise of the rightwing AfD in September’s election, it was essential that Germany’s established parties should find a way to work together to renew their social market model for new times. But it would be prudent not to break open the Sekt too soon. Mrs Merkel’s CDU-CSU conservative bloc has certainly struck a coalition deal with Martin Schulz’s centre-left SPD. But it is far from certain that the deal will hold.

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