German Chancellor Merkel vows to block Turkey from joining European Union

Kristopher Drake
September 4, 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel emerged as the clear victor of the only television debate with her center-left challenger Martin Schulz three weeks before a federal election, a poll showed on Sunday. For Schulz, the debate may be the last chance to build momentum for the vote in Germany, where a strong economy is limiting appetite for change and for the populism that fueled anti-establishment candidates in elections from the France.

At the air quality "summit" on Monday, Merkel has said she will suggest a compromise solution where the most polluted municipalities could get funding to speed up the development of e-car charging stations and better public transport.

Merkel herself said in her closing statement she was dissatisfied with the issues covered, and listed the challenges facing the country before adding with a reassuring smile: "I believe we can manage it together".

Merkel argued that the cease of the accession talks with Turkey can only be decided in the concert of the European Union states.

Although polls taken afterwards showed Merkel had prevailed, Schulz's efforts weren't entirely wasted: Before the debate, 60 percent of respondents in a poll for broadcaster ZDF said they would rather have Merkel as chancellor, compared to 33 percent for Schulz. Some 55 per cent of those polled for ARD television found the chancellor convincing against 35 per cent for Mr Schulz.

Brussels, which has already frozen Turkey's entry negotiations, is now likely to consider further actions.

Her Christian Democratic Union party has backed the move for years, but Ms Merkel said since Turkey's accession talks began before her premiership, she would respect them.

The Iran nuclear accord, which Germany helped negotiate, could be a model for engaging with Kim Jong Un's regime, Merkel said in her weekly podcast on Saturday, four days after North Korea fired a missile over northern Japan.

Schulz, who leads Germany's center-left Social Democratic Party, said the US president had "brought the world to the edge of a crisis" and can not be trusted to resolve the standoff with North Korea.

No - she is sure to lead a coalition government, once again. But she admitted that "not everybody can come to us. we learnt this in the last few years".

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