A German politician who is looking to become the next head of the E.U. Commission on Saturday said he wanted a bloc that rested on Christian values and did not include Turkey.
Manfred Weber is the centre-right European People’s Party candidate and frontrunner to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission.
“We are proud that this continent has a Christian influence… it is not only something for museums, and that should guide us for the future,” Weber said at a political meeting in Munster, western Germany.
Manfred Weber launches EPP election campaign in Athens. Proposals include:
– more EU border guards & EuroFBI
– anti-cancer drive
– retraining fund for workers
– digital tax
– end to EU enlargement
Proof that "l'Europe qui protège" is now the dominant idea in European politics pic.twitter.com/sXt8PVf7Bb
— Jeremy Cliffe (@JeremyCliffe) April 23, 2019
These Christian values should ensure Europeans were “frank” in their discussions with Ankara “which is why I believe that Turkey cannot be a member of the E.U.,” he said, reiterating his opposition to Turkey being allowed to join the E.U. club.
“We want a partnership, a friendship, but we must end accession negotiations with Turkey.”
The European project should be “defended against nationalists and the selfish” he said, adding that Europe faced a “historic turning point” in defence of the European “way of life.”
He said that with the “towers of Notre-Dame burning” in Paris earlier this month, he saw the French cathedral as a significant symbol “for us Europeans to… rely on our shared values and ways of thinking.”
The European Union is to hold elections to its European parliament between May 23 and 26. The vote is expected to see a surge in far-right and populist parties.
Weber, 46, is the leader of the centre-right EPP which is projected to win the biggest number of seats in the parliament, potentially putting him in pole position to take over from Juncker, 64, when he steps down late this year.
— Manfred Weber (@ManfredWeber) April 17, 2019