BERLIN (Reuters)—German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told lawmakers in her conservative bloc that she does not expect the European Union to open negotiations on new policy areas with Turkey in its talks to join the bloc, a source told Reuters.
Turkish accession talks began in 2005 but have made slow progress. Merkel has repeatedly said the EU, which needs Ankara to help tackle the migrant crisis, must continue to engage with Turkey.
Bild newspaper ran a story under a headline that said Merkel opposed further EU talks with the fellow NATO member and reported that this meant discussions were effectively over.
However, one conservative parliamentary source said the chancellor had rather re-stated her position in response to a question at a meeting of lawmakers.
“She said that at the moment no further negotiating chapters would be opened in any case and in addition, from her point of view, there was no need for action,” said the source.
“It was a statement rather than an initiative. She was responding to a question from a lawmaker about what they should say about Turkey in constituencies,” said the source.
The European Parliament passed a non-binding motion last week urging the Commission and national governments to call a temporary halt to membership talks with Turkey due to Ankara’s “disproportionate” reaction to July’s failed coup attempt.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on November 29 said his country has not yet “closed the book” on the EU but said Ankara had other options with other partners.