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Germany's Merkel Outlines Tough Agenda


German Chancellor Angela Merkel made her first speech in parliament Wednesday outlining a tough agenda for her government.

In a wide-ranging address to parliament, Chancellor Angela Merkel outlined Germany's foreign policy. She pledged closer ties with the United States, saying she wanted a close, open, honest and trusting relationship with Washington.

But she warned the United States that it must address concerns about illicit CIA activities in Europe. Ms. Merkel also said Germany would not tolerate human rights violations by any country.

Turning to Europe, the German leader promised to help overcome the European Union's "crisis of missing mutual trust." Germany, she said, would serve as a "mediator" between large and small members to rescue the union's constitution and break the deadlock over its future budget.

Ms. Merkel warned Turkey that membership of the EU was not guaranteed. She said the negotiations are an open-ended process.

She also said that integrating minorities is a key task, saying an honest dialogue must be kept with Islam. But made clear that forced marriages and so-called honor killings would not be tolerated.

Ms. Merkel was also clear about her domestic plans.

Angela Merkel said she has described the coalition as a new coalition of new opportunities. She said her aim was to open up new opportunities for the country and all Germans.

Ms. Merkel said she wanted to tackle the country's 11 percent unemployment rate and rein in a spiraling public deficit.

She said that the Germany she envisioned had a strong labor market, world-class schools and universities and a working health, pension and nursing systems.

The new chancellor's conservative government has a narrow majority and was forced to form a coalition with the Social Democrats. This may make it difficult for her to push through her plans.

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