Merkel welcomes partial EU talk freeze with Turkey

12th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

12 December 2006, Berlin (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday welcomed a decision by European Union foreign ministers to partially freeze Turkey's membership talks with the bloc. "I view it as a good move ... I am very satisfied," said Merkel who leads Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and opposes allowing Turkey to become a full EU member. EU foreign ministers on Monday took the unprecedented step of partially freezing Turkey's membership negotiations after Ankara refused to e

12 December 2006

Berlin (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday welcomed a decision by European Union foreign ministers to partially freeze Turkey's membership talks with the bloc.

"I view it as a good move ... I am very satisfied," said Merkel who leads Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and opposes allowing Turkey to become a full EU member.

EU foreign ministers on Monday took the unprecedented step of partially freezing Turkey's membership negotiations after Ankara refused to establish transport links with EU member state Cyprus.

Turkey began negotiations to join the EU last year and diplomats say they will take at least 15 years to complete. Foreign ministers agreed to freeze eight of the 35 policy areas being negotiated - the so-called EU accession chapters.

Merkel, speaking at a Berlin press briefing, insisted that her earlier calls for a stricter EU "review clause" on Turkey's fitness to resume full EU membership talks had partially been met.

She stressed that EU leaders would still have to get involved with a final decision on any resumption of Ankara's membership talks.

"This is something in addition (to the original proposal)," said Merkel, adding, however, "It must never be an ultimatum."

Merkel expressed disappointment over views in Turkey that the some EU members wanted to keep Turkey from joining because it is a mainly Muslim country with a population of 70 million.

"Europe is not a Christian club," Merkel said. "It is bound together by values."

Such views in Turkey were "a serious misunderstanding," she said.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article