BERLIN (AP) — The new leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party has given an advisory role to her narrowly defeated rival.

The Christian Democratic Union is keen to heal internal divisions and prevent future rifts after Merkel ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer defeated Friedrich Merz, a one-time rival of the chancellor, to become party leader Dec. 7. Merz declined to seek another senior party position but his backers pressed for him to be brought aboard.

Kramp-Karrenbauer tweeted Thursday that Merz will offer the party his “experience and expertise” on economic policy and will be a “great reinforcement” for an expert group advising the CDU.

German daily Die Welt reported that Merz will advise on the future of trans-Atlantic relations and be involved with drawing up a new party program.