Friday

27th Apr 2018

France ready to unblock EU-Turkey talks

  • Turkey has been in EU membership talks since 2005 (Photo: svenwerk)

France wants to "give a new impetus" to Turkey's EU membership talks, allowing negotiations to resume this week after a break of almost three years.

"We are favourable to the idea of opening talks on what is called chapter 22," French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday (12 February) in Paris after meeting his Turkish counterpart on the margins of a conference on Libya.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

A spokesman for the foreign ministry later the same day confirmed that France, a long-term opponent of Turkish EU accession, has had a change of heart and wants to "give a new impetus to EU-Turkey relations."

He said Paris also expects Ankara to "contribute concretely to this dynamic."

Turkey began its EU accession process back in 1963 with a tailor-made "association agreement."

It formally applied to join in 1987 and started accession talks in 2005.

But the negotiations stalled three years ago, in part due to Cyprus' complaint that Turkish soldiers continue to occupy the north part of the island.

France has also proved hesitant to opening new areas in the negotiations, however - out of the 35 so-called chapters, just one has been concluded so far.

France's former President, Nicolas Sarkozy had openly said that Turkey should never get into the EU.

For her part, German Chancellor Angela Merkel still shares Sarkozy's view, but she says her government will not block Turkey's membership talks as such.

The impasse has prompted frequent complaints from Ankara.

In its latest salvo, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week said on TV that he might join the Shanghai Co-operation Organization, a multilateral Asian body, instead of the Union.

For his part, EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele welcomed the French development.

"France's signal of readiness for the EU to restart discussions on regional policy with Turkey adds to momentum to make 2013 a turning point in our relations," he tweeted.

Technical talks on chapter 22, which deals with regional aid and how to align Turkey's legislation to EU rules in this field, are expected to start later this week. But first, the Irish EU presidency needs to get the consensus of all the other member states to move ahead.

Meanwhile, Cyprus is also expected to soften its stance if presidential elections on Sunday put a new administration in power.

Turkey will also need to move, however.

The EU wants it to open access to its ports and airports for Cypriot vessels and airlines.

Concerns over Turkish human rights abuses, the role of the military in Turkish politics and internal conflicts with the Kurdish minority in Turkey are also irritants in EU-Turkish relations.

Analysis

Beyond macho: Turkish-EU ties

Turkey has belittled the EU in a week of macho posturing, but strategic relations go deeper than the rhetoric.

Opinion

Appeasement will not work with Erdogan

As EU leaders Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker meet president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Bulgaria, their reluctance to use their diminishing leverage with Ankara means his dismantling of Turkey's democracy only speeds up.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  2. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  3. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  6. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  7. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  9. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  10. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  11. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  12. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off

Latest News

  1. EU tells platforms to sort fake news by October or face new law
  2. Civil society chief: social media can't replace engagement
  3. The reality behind the €7 'Brexit bombshell visa'
  4. Commission wants bigger post-Brexit budget
  5. Whistleblowers could be enforcers of rule of law in Europe
  6. EU shelves Macron idea for 'European Darpa'
  7. Don't play EU 'games' with military HQs
  8. EU had a plan for Jordan - now it's time to make it work