Dec 16 - Germany welcomes its new coalition deal as a sign of continuity in government - even if there are a few surprise appointments behind the scenes. David Pollard reports.
The familiar ritual of German politics. A chancellor - in this case Angela Merkel entering her third term - signing a coalition agreement. For many Germans, including investors like Baader Bank's Robert Halver, it means a thing they love: continuity. SOUNDBITE (German) TRADER WITH BAADER BANK, ROBERT HALVER, SAYING: "Merkel remains chancellor, Schaeuble finance minister. In terms of saving the euro, everything's unchanged. The rescue effort will stay in place till the end." But if it's steady as she goes for the euro zone, there are some surprising new shipmates among the crew. Such as Ursula Von Der Leyen as Germany's first woman defence minister. A mother of seven, former gynaecologist, family minister and labour minister, she controversially went head to head with Merkel when she fought for boardroom quotas for women. Even so, many believe she's Merkel's choice to succeed her if Merkel were to step down mid term. Though it could be a tough fight. Reuters Breakingviews; European Editor, Pierre Briancon. SOUNBITE (English) REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS; EUROPEAN EDITOR, PIERRE BRIANCON, SAYING: ''One thing is to be darling of the media, another thing is to survive in the cut-throat politics of intra-party competition. There will be a few others who might want the job, so it is far from a done deal. The media love her and she has done no major mistakes so far, but again, a lot can happen in the next two years.'' Another surprise move: the departure of one of the ECB's most influential figures, Jörg Asmussen, to take up a post as deputy labour minister. He says he's moving from Frankfurt to be closer to his family in Berlin. It'll leave a space in one of the most powerful boardrooms of them all - the ECB governing council. Expected to to be filled by this woman: Sabine Lautenschlaeger. She's already Bundesbank vice president and, crucially, has a strong track record in the role the ECB's about to take on: banking supervision.