BBCs Katya Adler lifts lid on Olaf Scholzs first priority as Angela Merkels successor

Germany: Expert suggests lockdown as Covid cases surge

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The leader of the Social Democrats finally agreed a coalition deal and brought an end to the 16-year reign of Angela Merkel. The centre-left party secured a narrow win in the September election and have spent weeks negotiating with opposition leaders to form a government.

Mr Scholz has agreed to go into power with the Greens and business-friendly Free Democrats, in an alliance dubbed the traffic light coalition

Ms Adler, BBCs Europe Editor, said the 63-year-old has already spoken about introducing new Covid restrictions.

She tweeted: “Olaf Scholz – Germany’s new chancellor – if confirmed by parliament – is explaining priorities for his new coalition government with Greens and Liberals BEFORE that – his first words were about Germany’s corona virus crisis and measures his gov wants to introduce. #Germany.”

Officials in Germany were already considering another lockdown following a series of crisis talks.

Coronavirus rules have already been strengthened to limit entry into certain public spaces to those who have been vaccinated.

Mr Scholz hinted he would be prepared to introduce mandatory jabs in certain groups.

He said: “Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic.

“In institutions where vulnerable groups are cared for, we should make vaccination compulsory,”

The health ministry has put forward proposals to make it compulsory for workers in nursing homes and clinics to be vaccinated from January 2022.

Coronavirus continues to sweep across Europe – and Germany recorded a further 66,884 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday.

Health chiefs added a further 335 people had died after contracting COVID-19.

In Germany, around 68 percent of the population has received both vaccine doses, below the average in Europe.

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The incoming government has wasted no time and already announced a series of new domestic and foreign policies.

The coalition agreed Germany would remain part of NATO’s nuclear sharing agreement.

The parties also vowed to narrow the gender pay gap in Germany, which currently sees women earning on average 19 percent less than men, below the EU average of 14.1 percent.

Rules are also set to be overhauled to grant German citizenship to children born in the country to foreign parents if one parent have lived in Germany for five years.

Meanwhile, proposals are underway to legalise cannabis and authorise its sale for recreational purposes.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Scholz reassured the doubters that a three-way coalition can work.

He recalled when the first traffic light was erected at the city’s Potsdamer Platz in 1924, many questioned whether it could work.

He said: “Today, the traffic light is indispensable when it comes to regulating things clearly and providing the right orientation and ensuring that everyone moves forward safely and smoothly.

“My ambition as chancellor is that this traffic light alliance will play a similarly groundbreaking role for Germany.”

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