Schroeder hails recommendationfor Turkish-EU talks

6th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

6 October 2004 , BERLIN/NEW DELHI - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Wednesday welcomed a report recommending the European Union open membership talks with Turkey and predicted there would be no problem winning a final green light at the bloc's December summit. "This is a serious and good report," said Schroeder in remarks made in New Dehli at the start of a trip to Asia. The Chancellor, who is a staunch backer of Turkish European Union membership, said Germany would vote in favour of starting talks

6 October 2004

BERLIN/NEW DELHI - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Wednesday welcomed a report recommending the European Union open membership talks with Turkey and predicted there would be no problem winning a final green light at the bloc's December summit.

"This is a serious and good report," said Schroeder in remarks made in New Dehli at the start of a trip to Asia.

The Chancellor, who is a staunch backer of Turkish European Union membership, said Germany would vote in favour of starting talks which supporters say will lead Turkey into the EU as a full member by 2020.

Leaders of the 25 E.U. states will make a final decision on whether to begin accession talks with Ankara at a Brussels summit 17 December.

While Schroeder and most leaders of his Social Democratic Party (SPD) back Turkish EU membership, many rank and file SPD members are opposed, surveys show, due to widespread fears of jobs to lower Turkish wages and immigration of Turks to Germany.

Germany has about 2.5 million Turks of whom about 700,000 have received German citizenship.

Two recent German opinion polls on Turkish EU membership gave contrasting results, with on poll showing a big majority against allowing Turkey to join the EU and another showing a majority in favour.

Germany's main opposition Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) are split on Turkish EU membership.

CDU leader Angela Merkel opposes letting Turkey become a full member while a former CDU defence minister, Volker Ruehe, backs allowing Ankara to join.

The CDU European policy spokesman in parliament, Peter Hintze, issued a sharp warning Wednesday that allowing Turkey into the EU could destroy the bloc.

"(There's a danger) that the EU will not survive 'operation Turkish membership'," said Hintze, who is also a Protestant pastor, in a Deutschlandfunk radio interview.

CDU European Parliament deputy Elmar Brok said Turkey's human rights situation alone barred it from membership.

"There were 500 proven cases of torture in Turkey last year," said Brok in comments to Bayerischer Rundfunk radio.

Brok also said that admitting Turkey to the EU would lead to annual costs of up to EUR 24 billion per year. Germany alone would have to pay EUR 6 billion a year to Ankara after Turkey becomes a member, he said.

The costs are expected due to getting Turkey's infrastructure up to EU standards, because of the country's big agricultural sector and because of the country's large regions which are economically depressed.

German business leaders generally back Turkish EU membership because they see opportunities in an under-developed market with 70 million people.

Friedrich Heinemann, an economist at Cologne's Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), said German companies would likely profit more than those in other EU nations from Turkish membership.

Meanwhile, Germany's "European Animal and Nature Protection Association" weighed in with concerns that Turkish EU membership would lead to watering down EU animal protection laws.

"Cruelty to animals is widespread in the entire country and the order of the day," said the group in a statement.

DPA


Subject: German news
 

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