'Wrong' to admit Turkey to EU: Oskar Lafontaine

11th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

11 August 2005, BERLIN - An influential leader of Germany's newly founded Left Party, Oskar Lafontaine, said Thursday that he opposed allowing Turkey to join the European Union.

11 August 2005

BERLIN - An influential leader of Germany's newly founded Left Party, Oskar Lafontaine, said Thursday that he opposed allowing Turkey to join the European Union.

"I personally was against the swift eastward expansion of the European Union (E.U.) and thus regard it as wrong for Turkey to be taken into the E.U.," said Lafontaine in a Maerkisiche Allgemeine newspaper interview.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who is a Social Democrat (SPD), and his Greens coalition allies back Turkish E.U. membership.

The opposition conservatives and their chancellor candidate Angela Merkel oppose allowing Turkey to join the E.U. - as do Germany's smaller right-wing extremist parties.

Lafontaine, a former leader of Schroeder's SPD, quit the party earlier this year to set up the Left Party comprised of former East Germany's post-communists and a smaller western left group, the WASG.

Polls show the Left Party at between 9 per cent and 12 per cent meaning it is almost certain to enter parliament after Germany's September 18 general election.

Lafontaine recently drew headlines by complaining about 'Fremdarbeiter' or foreign workers taking jobs from German workers.

Turkey is due to begin negotiations aimed at E.U. membership on October 3. Talks are expected to be extremely difficult and last up to 15 years.

DPA

Subject: German news

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