Merkel blamed for ‘ruthlessly pushing own interests’ and ‘widening rifts’ among EU states

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Green Party MEP Sven Giegold told German Info Radio he believes Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders are jointly responsible for the democratic crisis in countries like Hungary and Poland. He said: “Even if Germany and other countries are now criticising Hungary, they are jointly responsible for the dismantling of basic European principles.

“Clear words and action against the weakening of the rule of law and democracy would have been needed much earlier.

“The corrupt conditions in Bulgaria for which the Bulgarian GERB is responsible should now even be rewarded with joining the euro.

“Armin Laschet also remained silent about the rule of law at the meeting with the Slovenian Prime Minister.

“There must be no false loyalties when it comes to dismantling basic European values.”

The European Parliamentarian demanded that the EU Commission should finally apply the rule of law mechanism consistently.

Mr Giegold continued: “The federal government needs clear words for all countries that violate the rule of law and democracy.”

German MEP Claudia Roth has sharply criticised the planned extension of the EU-Turkey deal at the European Council as a fatal signal for human rights.

The Bundestag Vice President said: “An extension of the existing EU-Turkey deal is extremely problematic in terms of human rights.”

In view of the growing anti-democratic repression in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, an extension would be “a fatal signal to everyone who campaigns for democracy and human rights,” said Ms Roth.

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“The current agreement is essentially in violation of asylum law and should be terminated immediately,” she emphasised.

The EU must learn from the mistakes of the past: “There can only be a new agreement if it conforms with the international community and the rule of law,” emphasised Roth.

“Instead of fighting migration and violating human rights, the situation and the prospects of those affected must be sustainably improved and their rights safeguarded,” demanded the Green politician.

However, it was correct and necessary that Turkey and the civil society there, continue to receive financial support in looking after the refugees in the country.

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However, the basis must be that Turkey ratifies the Geneva Refugee Convention in full.

Ex-EU commissioner Günter Verheugen (SPD) said Angela Merkel was also responsible for the failing internal state of the EU.

At the end of last week’s summit, he said: “The whole process of this summit seems to show that the internal state of the EU is getting worse and worse.

“It is very worrying if Germany and France, the two strongest forces in the EU, cannot get their way.”

This is the result of years of serious neglect, said the former EU Commissioner. Germany and the Chancellor also played their part in this: “In the serious crises that have shaken the EU in the last 15 years – financial crisis, refugee crisis, corona crisis – Germany has rather contributed to widening the rifts in the EU.”

It had been the worst during the financial crisis, according to Verheugen.

“Germany ruthlessly pushed through its interests at the expense of the smaller and weaker states.

“And that left deep marks.”

But Merkel’s decision to open the borders in 2015 was “met with complete incomprehension among the partners because they were not informed about it”.

And that too had “dramatic consequences”.

However, Merkel had also given the EU stability and ensured that the community of states still existed. That was probably her greatest success.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg

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