19:57 GMT17 January 2021
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    Turkey's membership in the European Union is unlikely to happen in the next ten years, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Guenther Oettinger said.

    According to the politician, there are serious concerns that the EU may disintegrate. The number of countries with unstable or populist governments in the European Union is increasing, Oettinger said.

    "This worries me. For the first time, I see a serious risk that the EU may fall apart," the politician stated in an interview with the German newspaper Bild.

    At the same time Oettinger argued that despite new challenges, the EU should continue to accept new members. He spoke in favor of the inclusion of other Western Balkan countries and stressed that the enlargement of the EU to the East was the "right decision".

    At the same he mentioned, that the EU should work out strict conditions for new members and accept them only when they fulfill the requirements.

    With regard to Turkey's prospects for the membership, he said that the process can be difficult and long-lasting.

    "Turkey's accession [to the E] will not happen in this decade and in the next decade as well," the politician said, adding that country should first demonstrate its commitment to European rules and values.

    Turkey has been dreaming of joining the EU for many years. It first applied for membership in the union in 1987, was declared a candidate for accession only in December 1999. Since then, the country has been struggling to become a member of the union, but has not achieved much success.


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