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0505278 - A change of governmentin Germany in September to favour the Christian
European Armenian Federation for Justice & Democracy

Turkey to loom large in German election
24.05.2005 - 09:39 CET | By Honor Mahony

A change of governmentin Germany in September to favour the Christian
Democrats could spell trouble for Turkey's bid to become a member of the EU.

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's decision to seek early elections after his party's regional election defeat on Sunday (22 May) has already prompted the CDU to let it be known that one of its campaign themes will be its opposition to Turkish EU membership.

CDU politician Matthias Wissman, the head of the Europe committee in the Bundestag, told German daily FT Deutschland "We will tell people that the likelihood of full EU membership for Turkey is much much lower under a [CDU] government".

"Of course, Germany does not decide alone about
[Turkey's]membership", he added "but Germany's weight in the EU means that a German change of position can also lead to a change in the EU's position".

Mr Wissman's position is not a surprise. The Christian Democrats have made no secret of their opposition to Ankara's full membership of the club arguing instead that it should have a "privileged partnership".

If the CDU does manage to get into government in September - and current polls give them a comfortable lead - it will be just days before 3 October, the day Turkey is supposed to formally open accession negotiations with the EU.

Germany is only one of the 25 member states in the EU, but it is the
biggest, and could make things difficult by dragging its feet during
negotiations with Ankara.
And while Germany's Christian Democrats are set to use the Turkey question in their election campaign, the issue has also played a role in the run up to referendums on the constitution in both France and the Netherlands.

Anti-constitution campaigners are saying that a yes to the constitution means a yes to Turkey's membership of the EU.


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