Sunday was a landmark day in German politics because a big majority of members of the Social Democratic party voted in favour of the coalition deal that had been negotiated with Angela Merkel's conservatives. That, essentially, paves the way for a grand coalition and breaks the deadlock that has gripped German politics now since elections last September. It, essentially, means that Germany now has a stable government for the next four years. It was a very strong vote in favour, 66%, sort of slightly higher than people had been expecting. So we now have a sort of grand coalition, which will govern Germany for the next four years.
We have a plan, a coalition agreement, which defines what policies they'll pursue over the next four years. So it does provide a certain amount of stability for a country, which, really, for five months has existed without a government. The result doesn't really completely resolve the crisis in the centre left of German politics. The SPD is still very weak. It's got only 20.5% in the last election, which was its worst result in postwar German history.
This is a very good result for Angela Merkel. In these last five months where Germany, effectively, didn't have proper, functioning government, she had come under a lot of criticism from within her own party for failing to come up with a functioning coalition. And a lot of that criticism will now fade away. The SPD result is also good news for Europe.
A lot of EU business has been on hold because Germany did not really have a functioning government. But it will now sort of progress. Emmanuel Macron now has a partner in Angela Merkel, who - with enhanced authority. And that could be a good thing for his agenda of far-reaching reform of the EU.