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The European Commission introducing new guidelines for Turkey - EU talks

Source: BRT  
30 November 2006

The European Commission has reacted to the collapse of the Finnish initiative on Cyprus, by announcing – what many observers say – amount to a partial suspension of the accession negotiations with Turkey.

The Commission has announced that the negotiations will now continue with a slower pace, until, as it is said: “Turkey meets its obligations under the Ankara Protocol”.

It said eight of the 35 areas of negotiation between the EU and Turkey should be suspended.

The Commission’s recommendation, finalized today, accuses Turkey of keeping in force the restrictions on the free movement of goods, including those on the means of transport; and says that the intergovernmental Conference on Accession with Turkey should not open negotiations on eight chapters, covering areas relevant to Turkey’s restrictions as regards the Greek Cypriot South Cyprus.

"There is a unanimous decision by the member states to conduct accession negotiations with Turkey... Turkey has undoubtedly made progress. But it has still not implemented all obligations it has agreed to," EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement.

The EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn told a press conference shortly afterwards that the eight chapters include the Free movement of goods and services; financial topics, agriculture, fisheries, customs union, and external relations.

Announcing the decision, Mr Rehn underlined the importance of the fact that the Commission is not recommending the suspension of the process, but only a “slowing down” of it.

“The train has not derailed, but only slowed down” he said, in response to a question, adding, that the Commission considers Turkey’s accession negotiations as important.

“The negotiations process must continue” he said, and added: “the train will not stop but move slowly”.

Mr Rehn also added that no chapter will be provisionally closed until the Commission has confirmed that Turkey has fully implemented its commitments with respect to the Additional Protocol.

Earlier, there were international reaction to the reports that the Commission was about to declare the slowing down of accession negotiations with Turkey.

The British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapattero and the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi warned against a very harsh stance being taken against Turkey.

The Spanish prime minister is quoted as having said that his country continues to support full membership for Turkey.

The German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, for her part, said “her country will not hesitate supporting a move aimed at suspending Turkey’s accession process altogether, unless Turkey fulfils its obligations”, as she put it.

Finland currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, and Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen will visit Turkey on Friday to meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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