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Chancellor Angela Merkel makes European cooperation as top priority

Chancellor Angela Merkel will tell Germans that European co-operation is “the decisive question of the coming years” in a New Year’s Eve broadcast on Sunday, as her conservatives eye tricky coalition talks.

Merkel will say that “27 states in Europe must be persuaded more strongly than ever to hold together as a community,” according to a scb ript of the annual televised address released by her office.     Britain is on course to leave the bloc in March 2019 after last year’s referendum vote for Brexit — leaving the European Union with 27 members.             As for Germany, its “future is bound indivisibly with the future of Europe,” the chancellor will declare, recalling that Berlin hopes to work with France’s pro-European President Emmanuel Macron to future-proof the EU.

“The question will be whether we Europeans can represent our values inwardly and outwardly, with self-confidence and with solidarity,” she will add, reports AFP.

Brexit and fights over upholding democratic norms and sharing responsibility for refugees are weighing on continental cooperation.

Europe must be economically strong and fair, as well as able to “protect our external borders and the security of our citizens,” according to the text. Merkel and Macron vowed in mid-December to deliver a plan to reform the 19-nation euro single currency area.

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