Sunday

29th Mar 2020

Germany to delay Turkey talks until October

  • Westerwelle (l) with EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Berlin has proposed postponing the restart of Turkey's EU entry talks until after German elections in September.

Its foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, floated the idea at a meeting with his EU peers in Luxembourg on Monday (23 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Under the German proposal, EU countries would this week give "political assent" to resume the process.

But they would wait until the European Commission in October publishes a "progress report" on Turkey's EU credentials before going ahead.

The talks were due to restart at an intergovernmental conference (IGC) on Wednesday - a big step following a three-year standstill.

But Germany and the Netherlands last week raised objections due to Turkey's recent crackdown on anti-government protests.

The October date falls after German elections in September.

Germany and Turkey over the weekend traded harsh words after Turkey's EU affairs minister, Egemen Bagis, accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of blocking the talks to curry favour with right-wing voters.

Some EU countries share Bagis' point of view.

"As usual, domestic politics is playing a role in multilateral politics," one EU diplomatic contact said.

But Germany says the postponement has nothing to do with its vote.

"I would deny that there is any link," a German diplomat told this website on Monday.

"You can't deny a certain influence of the events of the last two weeks [Turkey's crackdown] on the German position. However this develops, the events will be reflected in the commission's progress report. That's why we think it might be an acceptable compromise to go this way," he added.

Most EU countries want to go ahead with the accession talks more quickly.

But for its part, Austria on Monday joined the Dutch-German camp.

An EU diplomatic source said Vienna would like to see "a cooling off period" because it might "send the wrong political signal" if the EU went ahead amid the Turkish crackdown.

The German idea is likely to be discussed by EU ambassadors in Luxembourg on Monday evening.

Foreign ministers might also try to get a deal in the margins of a "general affairs" meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

In protocol terms, Turkey needs at least 24 hours' notice if the IGC is to happen.

"I don't hold out much hope for an agreement on Tuesday. But even if there is one, I don't think Wednesday's meeting can take place," an EU official noted.

No EU-Turkey talks until October

The restart of EU-Turkey accession talks has been postponed until at least October following a German request.

News in Brief

  1. UK health minister tests positive for coronavirus
  2. Orban: coronavirus exposes EU 'weaknesses'
  3. Court orders Netherlands to pay colonial victims
  4. Belgian cat 'infected by coronavirus'
  5. UK PM Johnson tests positive for coronavirus
  6. EU agrees Libya naval mission after Greek solution
  7. US to upgrade its nuclear bombs in Europe
  8. US surpasses China and Italy with 82,404 corona cases

EU to publish new enlargement method

EU hopefuls will know more about the hoops they will have to jump through in future when the European Commission publishes its new "enlargement methodology" this week.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. EU doctors: bring refugees on Greek islands to safety
  2. Russia's top coronavirus 'fake news' stories
  3. WHO warning on lockdown mental health
  4. Virus: Frontex tells officers to keep guarding Greek borders
  5. EU heads struggle to find joint virus response
  6. Poland's sham presidential election in a pandemic
  7. Von der Leyen warns 'end selfishness' in virus crisis
  8. Chinese ambassador to EU: put trust before politics

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us