Merkel wants to stop Turkey's European Union membership talks

by Garry Watts September 4, 2017, 6:53
Merkel wants to stop Turkey's European Union membership talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has vowed to block Turkey joining the European Union, as she pitched for re-election in a TV debate.

This picture made available by German public TV broadcaster WDR shows Martin Schulz (R) and Angela Merkel shaking hands ahead a televised debate in a television studio in Berlin, on September 3, 2017.

In a sharp escalation of an already intensifying diplomatic crisis between two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies with longstanding historical links, Merkel said: "It is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the European Union".

The survey by Infratest Dimap for ARD television showed that 49 percent viewed Merkel as being more credible while 29 percent favored Schulz.

"A point has been reached where we need to end the economic relationship, the financial relationship, the customs union and the accession talks", Schulz said during the 90-minute debate. "Whether we can win over all the countries for this I don't know".

In her pitch to voters, Merkel touted her 12 years of experience as the leader of Europe's biggest economy, citing Germany's low unemployment rate and pledging not to raise the pension age to 70.

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In addition, 77 per cent of the survey respondents said that Merkel did well, as expected, while 55 per cent said Schulz's performance was better than expected.

She has weathered storms over mass immigration and financial and political turmoil in the European Union, while the SPD, Germany's oldest party, has struggled to promote a strong rival.

Schulz has called Merkel "aloof" and attacked her on a range of issues but failed to dent her lead. Merkel shot back: "We had a very dramatic situation then".

Schulz said that he agreed with the policy of granting asylum to those in need and argued that Germany had to meet its worldwide commitments.

Merkel's decision to open Germany's borders in 2015 cost her support at the time, but she has since regained ground.

But he refused to rule out a coalition with the far-left Linke.


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