HIGHLIGHTS-Merkel holds summer news conference ahead of German election

BERLIN, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel held a traditional summer news conference on Tuesday, just less than a month before Germany’s Sept. 24 national election.

Following are highlights of her comments:


“There is a huge disappointment (in the auto industry over the emissions scandal) - and this does not apply only to me, you can also see this among the people.”

“There surely is a certain sense of fury. And I have to say that we can not simply go back and do business as usual with the car industry... There will be a second round of talks (with car industry executives).”


“Regarding the customs union, I want to say clearly - and I’ll tell the (European) Commission President this tomorrow and also the (EU) Presidency who is responsible for that - I, and we as the German government, do not think that we’ll be able, in the coming months, to give a mandate to speak about the customs union as long as the situation remains as it is.”


“We don’t exert political influence over the exchange rate. We’re pleased about our competitiveness and we avoid unfair trade practices.”

“I am not the one who decides on the euro exchange rate.”

“If the euro zone is very low then it is easier for German exporters to place their products on the global market - every change in the euro exchange rate has an impact on our ability to export and of course puts new pressure on our competitiveness.”

“I personally don’t see the trade surplus per se as so dramatic ... and if the trade surplus goes down now, it is part of things that we don’t have any influence on at all.”


“Regarding the euro zone, we have very positive data. All member states of the euro zone are showing economic growth, including Greece.”

“I think that we’re in a much better position today than we were a year ago, when I was a lot more worried and I wish Greece every success. I know that it is very, very difficult for many people but I think that Greece will also benefit from more jobs and then gradually from more prosperity.”


“I think the suggestion from (Finance Minister) Wolfgang Schaeuble to turn the European Stability Mechanism into a European Monetary Fund is a very good idea and it could make us even more stabile and allow us to show the world that we have all the mechanisms in our own portfolio of the euro zone to be able to react well to unexpected situations.”


“I am working together with the French President and also with the help of the United States on finding solutions (for the Ukraine crisis) within the Normandy format.”

“We just made clear in our joint statement released yesterday that the observance of the ceasefire agreement is of the utmost importance.”

“If the Minsk agreement is kept, then the requirement will be met for lifting the sanctions on Russia.”


“Europe has not yet done its homework - we do not have a functioning Dublin system - that needs to be reformed and the interior ministers are working on that - and not everyone is willing to ensure a fair distribution of refugees when they arrive in Europe.”


“You’ve raised the issue of the rule of law in Poland - that’s a serious issue because the requirements for cooperation within the European Union are the principles of the rule of law. I take what the (European) Commission says on this very seriously and tomorrow (European Commission President) Jean-Claude Juncker will come to Germany and of course I’ll talk about it with him in detail. I take it very seriously ... We cannot simply hold our tongues and not say anything for the sake of peace and quiet.”


“The following questions will play a role - how can we get modern motor technology without neglecting internal combustion engines, which will play a role for years and decades to come, and how can internal combustion engines be made more environmentally friendly, and how can we at the same time stick to the climate protection goals and the environmental regulations regarding nitrogen oxide.”


“I would like to have better ties with Turkey but we have to look at reality... This is a very complicated phase in our relations.”

“Our demand is clear that (all German citizens) who are detained there must be freed.”

Writing by Paul Carrel, Michelle Martin and Michael Nienaber