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10/12/2016

Merkel accused of pandering to Erdogan

Global Europe

Merkel accused of pandering to Erdogan

Ahmet Davuto?lu addresses the media at the Brussels summit on Sunday (29 November).

[European Council]

The European People’s Party (EPP) has reiterated its opposition to EU membership for Turkey, despite the agreement that was reached on Sunday (29 November). EurActiv Germany reports.

The deal that was struck with Ankara in relation to providing aid to tackle the refugee crisis and reopening accession talks has done nothing to quell the scepticism of the conservative EPP.

“For us in the EPP, it is clear that we want a close partnership, but not full membership,” Manfred Weber (CSU), the EPP’s group leader, told Bavarian television on Monday (30 November).

Although supporting the financial pledge made by the EU, he called the decision to allow Turks visa-free travel a “bitter pill” to swallow.

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>>Read: Putin and Erdogan in war of words at Paris conference

On Sunday evening (29 November), the EU and Turkey concluded talks that had been made necessary by the ongoing refugee crisis. Ankara committed itself to strengthening its land and sea borders, as well as stepping up its efforts against traffickers.

In return, the EU pledged €3 billion to be used exclusively to care for refugees, to remove the visa-requirement for Turkish travellers and to re-energise accession talks.

>>Read: Turkey stops refugees en route to Greek islands

Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (FDP), Vice-President of the European Parliament, criticised the reopening of accession talks, given the civil and human rights situation in Asia Minor. It is not right that the EU have thrown their “values overboard” in dealing with the refugee crisis, the liberal politician said in a radio interview.

Lambsdorff accused the German Chancellor of kowtowing to the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an.