Thursday

18th Jan 2018

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).

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.

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. Catalan parliament elects separatist speaker
  2. Czech government resigns
  3. MEPs back tighter export rules on cyber tech
  4. Annual eurozone inflation at 1.4 percent in December
  5. EPP group calls for 'European Netflix'
  6. Ex-MEP Goulard slated for senior French bank post
  7. Luxembourg speaks out in support of Palestinian state
  8. Danish fishing communities to be hit hard by Brexit, says report

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other Border Regions on How Countries Can Work Together to Generate Growth
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  4. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  5. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  6. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  7. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  8. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  9. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  10. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted
  11. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  12. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda