As Germany prepares for its presidency of the EU, Chancellor Angela Merkel has outlined her thoughts on partnerships with non-member states. Speaking in the Bundestag ahead of today’s EU summit, she said Europe must develop privileged partnerships with non-members irrespective of any on-going entry talks. “It involves Ukraine, countries around the Black Sea and indeed others,” she said. “That is why we need to have policies that are attractive to our neighbours. That way, we can bring the EU closer to countries that can’t become members.”
But she has her critics. Guido Westerwelle of the opposition FDP party says she needs to sort out her own government, before she can think about presiding the EU. “When the foreign minister criticises the Chancellor’s policy on Turkey in public and when he is criticised in turn by her party, that breaks the golden rule of European and foreign policies,” he said. “To tell the truth, you just don’t agree with each other.” With just over two weeks to go until Berlin is passed the baton of the EU presidency, Merkel will want to make sure members of her own government are facing in the right direction.