Tuesday

28th Jan 2020

Merkel favours God reference in EU constitution

German chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken out in favour of a reference to God in the EU constitution.

Speaking in Saarbrucken, Christian Democrat Merkel said "We live in a world in which we want to understand and communicate with other religions and cultures".

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  • "I personally believe we should stick with this [theme]", said Mrs Merkel (Photo: European Commission)

This includes knowing your own roots and being aware of them which is why God and the Christian belief should be included into the EU constitution, she indicated.

Europe would lose something if it were to push its historical reference to the side, she said.

It is the first time Berlin has spoken out in favour of a Christian reference in the EU constitution, and could potentially reopen one of the most bitter debates surrounding the drawing up of the document four years ago.

Spain, Italy and Poland were among the most active countries in pushing for a strong Christian reference in the constitution - Germany's Christian Democrats were also very vocal but they were then in opposition.

At the time, the rhetoric surrounding the religion debate led Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, to accuse the EU of acting like a Christian Club.

But after months of wrangling, the constitution, which is now on ice after having been rejected in two referendums last year, makes reference to Europe's religious heritage only in general terms.

"Drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, the values of which, still present in its heritage, have embedded within the life of society the central role of the human person and his or her inviolable and inalienable rights, and respect for law", it states.

EU foreign ministers will gather in Austria tomorrow (27 May) to discuss where to go next with the document, which has been in an official state of limbo since June last year.

Merkel and Erdogan

Meanwhile, Mrs Merkel's words also come ahead of a meeting with Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday (26 May).

The meeting between the two leaders today – the first since Mrs Merkel came to power - is set to be quite different to meetings with the previous German chancellor, Gerhard Schroder.

Mr Schroder was one of the strongest advocates of Ankara's EU membership bid.

Mrs Merkel has been far more grudging, initially suggesting an alternative to full membership but lately saying that the EU should respect the commitments it has made to future members of the bloc.

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