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Customs union with Turkey: Germany will block negotiations

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017 | World News

The Federal Government responds to the conflict with Ankara. Angela Merkel announced on Tuesday in Berlin that Germany would block negotiations on an extension of the customs union between the European Union and Turkey.

She will inform EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Council President Donald Tusk this Wednesday. The Chancellor said: "I do not see and we do not see as a federal government that we could issue a mandate in the coming months to talk about the customs union as long as the situation is as it is now." The CDU leader pointed out that discussions on the expansion of the customs union should be decided unanimously by EU members.

No more "stand idly"
With this announcement – in the middle of the Bundestag election campaign – Merkel might also want to take the wind out of the sails by SPD chancellor candidate Martin Schulz. Schulz had accused the Chancellor of being too hesitant to respond to the provocations of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "How long do we want to stand idly, that Mr. Erdogan leads us around?", Asked Schulz with a look at the journalist Deniz Yücel and other Germans imprisoned in Turkey.

  Merkel dismissed the journalist's last reproach, saying that it was an exhilarating and calm way of holding an exciting election campaign. If some people believed that "election campaigning is nice only if one mutilates one another, then that is not the idea that I have of election campaign". Nor could she complain that no one came to her performances. "For me this is not boring, but for me it is exciting, interesting and every day you meet new people."

A humanitarian exception
In her summer press conference, the chancellor emphasized that she had not adopted her welcome policy for refugees. The steps they had taken against tractors, for more aid to development, and for humanitarian housing in Libya were "the same spirit" as aid for refugees in the summer of 2015. It was important that they decided to keep the border open for refugees and right decision in a humanitarian situation.

 But now measures are needed to find long-term solutions. These were "guided by the fact that we can not simply simply isolate ourselves and simply continue as far as possible," emphasized the Chancellor. The Europeans could only live in prosperity and security "if we look beyond our own eyes and deal with our neighborhood and its economic development". Merkel reiterated her criticism of EU countries, which opposed the "fair distribution" of refugees in Europe.

Germany should not "press"
The CDU chairman replied that critical questions concerning the cooperation with Niger in refugee policy and border protection were that Germany should not "press". It is wrong to not help a state like Niger, which is also challenged by Islamic terrorist groups, just because perhaps there is the risk that some of the rifles you have delivered might be captured by terrorists.

Merkel stressed: "My benchmark is: is there some better than before?" Even the weak position of Libya's unified government should not be a pretext for inactivity. Finally, Libya is also concerned with the fact that the United Nations has more access to the camps in which refugees are held.

No cooperation with AfD
On the handling of their party with the alternative for Germany addressed, said the CDU boss, there would be no further cooperation with the AfD. She expressed disapproval about CDU parliamentarians, who had agreed to a request from the AfD parliamentary group last week.

A statement from the AfD top candidate Alexander Gauland called Merkel "racist". Gauland had talked last weekend about "disposing" the integration commissioner of the federal government, Aydan Özoguz (SPD) in Turkey,

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