Monday

25th Jan 2021

EU to relaunch membership talks with Turkey

  • Police crackdown on protestors in Turkey drew widespread condemnation (Photo: bunyms)

The stalled EU membership talks with Turkey are set for relaunch after member states agreed accession negotiations would recommence on 5 November.

“After more than a three-year break, negotiations are regaining momentum, and I hope to see steady and speedy progress,” Linas Antanas Linkevicius, Lithuania’s minister of foreign affairs, said Tuesday (22 October).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

Linkevicius said the three-year hiatus was due to a lack of agreement among member states.

Talks were initially scheduled for June but were postponed following a violent police crackdown on anti-government protests that kicked off in Istanbul’s Gezi Park in summer before rapidly spreading to other cities.

Over 3,000 were arrested. Six people died, including one police officer, while thousands of others were injured, some severely.

Turkey’s accession negotiations started in 2005, although its EU candidate status was granted back in 1999.

Some 35 individual chapters covering different policy aspects must be finalised before full membership.

So far, 13 have been opened, but progress has been slowed by member state objections, largely due to Turkey’s frozen conflict with EU member state Cyprus.

Only one chapter, on science and research, has been provisionally closed.

The stand-off was further complicated when Turkey temporarily froze relations with the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2012 because Cyprus took the presidency helm.

The new thaw in relations means ministers in November will focus on a chapter dealing with regional policy and structural instruments with Turkey.

A European Commission progress report, released last week, noted that Turkey has moved forward on regional policy.

It noted that the government said it wants to step up democratic and political reforms.

But major challenges remain when it comes to human rights.

The report says outstanding issues remain over “gender equality, including access to education and the labour market, political representation, combatting violence against women and early and forced marriages.”

The EU earmarked over €900 million in funds for 2013 alone to help Turkey in its reforms.

The two sides exchanged some €123 billion in bilateral trade in 2012.

No EU-Turkey talks until October

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

Interview

Does North Macedonia really exist?

Its language and history give North Macedonia its identity for president Stevo Pendarovski, but, for Bulgaria, neither of them are real, in a dispute holding up EU enlargement.

Spain to recognise Kosovo if it gets Serbia deal

Spain would be prepared to recognise Kosovo if it clinched a deal with Serbia, Madrid has said, in the first positive signal of its kind since EU-brokered talks resumed.

News in Brief

  1. AstraZeneca told to meet EU vaccine supply commitments
  2. Estonia to get first woman prime minister
  3. Turkey and Greece to hold Mediterranean security talks
  4. Dutch police detain 240 in anti-lockdown protests
  5. Renewables overtake fossil fuels in EU electricity mix
  6. France's top scientist warns of corona 'emergency'
  7. Growing appetite for Northern Ireland independence
  8. Surge in support for Portuguese far-right party

Opinion

How enlargement is running out of steam

While the EU's enlargement progress reports have moved closer to capturing the problems of the region, they are still lagging behind in capturing the decline of democracy and rule of law in most of the region.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. Navalny protests sharpen EU sanctions talks
  2. Why Russia politics threaten European security
  3. MEPs call for workers to have 'right to disconnect'
  4. Reality bites EU's 'No More Morias' pledge
  5. Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity
  6. Vaccine delay and Russia sanctions debates This WEEK
  7. Will EU ever take action to stop Israeli settlements?
  8. EU leaders keep open borders, despite new corona variant risk

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us