Merkel 'pushes for cut in pre-accession funds' to Turkey

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By Euronews
Merkel 'pushes for cut in pre-accession funds' to Turkey

Ankara is “moving away step-by-step” from the preconditions for accession to the EU, Angela Merkel says. The German Chancellor labelled the human rights situation in Turkey “unacceptable” as she announced the bloc had asked their executive body to cut pre-accession funds to the country.

“We have agreed on two things: to ask the Commission to reduce pre-accession aid in a responsible way and, secondly, not just to talk about Turkey, but with Turkey. We will talk about in which context we will be able to continue to do that”, she added.

Merkel added that she didn’t expect discussions between the bloc and Ankara on enlarging a customs union, but she has called for a common EU position on membership talks.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said the goal was still EU membership, maintaining that the country is part of the continent; “we are not outsiders”, he insisted. Ankara first applied for accession to the Union in 1987. Talks began 12 years ago.