German coalition government’s minor partner CSU says EU enlargement should be paused
BERLIN - The German coalition government’s minor conservative partner has called for an "enlargement pause" in the European Union and an offer of a "privileged partnership" for Turkey, instead of full membership.
"Today with 28 member states, the EU has come to its limits of capacity for accepting any new member state," the Christian Social Union’s executive committee said in an election program prepared for the European Parliament elections on May 25.
"The EU cannot accept any new member in the foreseeable future, therefore we demand a stop to accession," it said in the program released on Sunday.
Entitled "Europe Plan 2014-2019," the program underlined Turkey’s continued importance for Europe, but argued that its membership would be a burden on the 28-member bloc.
It went on: "Turkey is an important partner of Europe and a good friend of NATO. But Turkey’s EU membership will be an overburden, both for the Turkey and for the EU.
"Therefore we are offering a privileged partnership with Turkey. Due to the requirement of a fair treatment of Turkey, and due to the lack of a perspective, accession negotiations with Turkey should be terminated."
The controversial program also called for referendums to be held in Germany on major EU decisions and proposed shrinking the European Commission to half its size.
- Growing support
Observers see the CSU’s populist election program as an attempt to attract Eurosceptic voters.
Germany’s first major Eurosceptic party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) founded last year, has seen growing support and is likely to get 5.5 percent of votes, recent polls show.
The CSU’s election program, anonymously approved by the executive committee over the weekend, will be presented to the CSU’s small party congress set for May 10.
The Bavarian CSU is the sister party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).
The conservative bloc CDU/CSU has a total of 311 deputies in the Federal Parliament, 255 of them are from the CDU and 56 from CSU.
While CDU and CSU have long opposed a full membership of Turkey in the EU, their coalition partner the Social Democratic Party is a strong supporter of Turkey’s EU membership perspective.
The CDU and CSU agreed in their coalition deal with the SPD last December that EU’s accession talks with Turkey should continue in an "open-ended" way, without a pledge for full membership.
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