26th May 2017

German minister - "never" to Turkey-EU membership

Candid comments made by the Danish foreign minister and filmed by a Danish TV producer could trouble the entire political process of aligning Turkey with EU membership.

Danish DR television will present on 22 April the documentary "Fogh behind the façade", which has already caused diplomatic rows between Denmark, Turkey and Germany well before it is presented, as it reveals the German foreign minister confiding that "Turkey will never join the EU".

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  • NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: "I am a good friend of Joschka, and he tells me, that Turkey will never join", says the Danish foreign minister PER STIG MØLLER in a corridor passage which was taped and used in the film. (Photo: Folketinget)

During four months of the Danish EU presidency, TV director Christoffer Guldbrandsen shadowed the Danish Premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen and filmed EU meetings normally closed to the public. The whole idea was to show the public how the political processes work in an attempt to improve transparency.

The programme was approved personally by the Premier and also seen by his top adviser, Nils Bernstein. But they both overlooked – or let slip – a sequence displaying a politically charged statement by German foreign minister Joschka Fischer where he revealed his personal views to Danish foreign minister Per Stig Møller, on Turkish membership of the European Union.

"I am a good friend of Joschka, and he tells me, that Turkey will never join", says the Danish foreign minister Per Stig Møller in a corridor passage which was taped and used in the film.

The political opposition to the Liberal prime minister is furious and says the episode risks severely damaging international diplomatic relations. The episode has also cooled relations between the conservative foreign minister and the liberal premier.

According to Berlingske Tidende, the German foreign ministry has already sent out an official denial through its Ankara embassy.

The film has already been showed in Sweden and Turkey and can be seen on Polish TV tonight.

Turbulence in Danish government after Fogh-film

Danish ambassador to the EU, Poul Skytte Christoffersen was seen as the real brain behind the successful negotiations of enlargement during the Danish EU presidency, which concluded on a high note in December last year by hosting the Copenhagen Summit. However, he is apparently a victim of a fight between the Danish EU foreign ministry and the ministry of state and will now be moved to Rome.

MEPs vote to start democracy probe on Hungary

The European Parliament took the first step towards launching the Article 7 procedure against Hungary for backsliding on democracy. The process might lead to sanctions, but Orban is not backing down.

MEPs preparing to crack down on Orban

The EU assembly's largest group is split by its "enfant terrible", but enough MEPs are likely to abstain or vote Yes on the "Article 7" crackdown over Orban's illiberal rule.

Macron and Merkel to 'reconstruct' the EU

The French and German leaders will present a common proposal to deepen and strengthen the EU and the eurozone. They say they are ready to change the EU treaties.

Schulz fails to beat Merkel in German home state

Former EU parliament leader, Martin Schulz, says the defeat of his social-democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia is "difficult". The elections showed that a "Schulz effect" does not (yet) exist.

Austria heading for snap elections

Foreign minister Kurz has taken leadership of the conservative party in what could lead to an alliance with the far-right.

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