Germany backs France in restarting talks with Turkey about joining the EU
Germany ready to re-start EU-Turkey talks
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed France on re-starting EU accession talks with Turkey.
Speaking in a regular, weekly podcast on Saturday (23 February), before going on a two-day visit to Turkey on Sunday, she said: "I think a long negotiating path lies ahead of us. Although I am sceptical, I agreed with the continuation of membership discussions. We are engaging in these in an open-ended manner … In recent times, negotiations stalled somewhat and I am in favour of opening a new chapter in order to move forward."
Turkey began EU entry talks in 2005.
But the process stopped in 2010, after France and Cyprus - which is locked in a 40-year-old frozen conflict over the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island - vetoed 11 out of the 35 so-called negotiating chapters.
France blocked further negotiations with Turkey when the conservative Sarkozy was the prime minister. Now that France has a Socialist Prime Minister they have moved to reopen negotiations with Turkey with support now from Germany. Still a long, long way to go but at least they are talking.