German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that after months-long negotiations to form a new government, the country's politicians should now get back to real work.

In a traditional Ash Wednesday address in Demmin in eastern Germany, Merkel referred to a speech by former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, saying: "Ask what I can do for this country ... it's the job of politics to serve the country. Stop complaining."

Merkel's conservative bloc secured an agreement to form a new coalition government with the Social Democrats last week. The deal would continue their partnership in the last four years, but still needs approval from Social Democrat members.

Top members from Merkel's party had criticized her for not achieving a good deal and leaving the finance ministry among others to the Social Democrats.