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Macron 'happy' about progress towards SPD-CDU coalition in Germany

French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace on Friday REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday welcomed progress towards the formation of a new coalition government in Germany.

"I am happy and satisfied that Mrs Merkel can advance towards a coalition government that will be useful and which is awaited by Europe and France," Macron said during a press conference with visiting Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Merkel and Social Democrat (SPD) leader Martin Schulz on Friday announced an agreement in principle to form a new coalition government after five days of negotiations.

Macron said the terms of the deal were "more favourable" for his vision of a reformed European Union than a separate agreement that was discussed but abandoned between Merkel and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) in November.

Macron is pushing for a eurozone budget and further European integration, proposals that Kurz, a mainstream right-winger sharing power with the far right, is expected to resist.