Wednesday

18th Sep 2019

Cyprus threatens to block EU deal on Turkey talks

  • Cyprus appears ready to shift the Turkey issue to the EU leaders' summit on 14-15 December (Photo: European Commission)

Cyprus has threatened to block an EU agreement on the fate of Turkey's membership talks if the union does not impose a new deadline on Ankara to normalise relations with Nicosia.

Cypriot government spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said on Thursday (30 November) that if Nicosia does not agree with EU conclusions at a foreign ministers' meeting on 11 December "we will go back and exercise our right not to permit opening of any chapter of Turkey's accession course," according to newswire reports.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The tough statement from Nicosia comes in response to this week's recommendation by the European Commission, which proposed to suspend the opening of eight chapters of Turkey's 35-strong EU negotiations book while talks on the remaining chapters could continue.

Cyprus believes that the EU's sanctions on Turkey - in response to Ankara's failure to lift an embargo on Cypriot shipping before the end of this year - should be much stronger.

Cypriot president Tassos Papadopoulos said "We are not satisfied with the decision because we believe it doesn't put any pressure on Turkey to comply with its obligations."

"Effective pressure...can't exist without a time frame for reassessing Turkey's stance so as to convince Turkey that it should comply or suffer other or further sanctions," he said.

The comments deepen the rift among EU member states which are gearing up for tough discussions at the 11 December foreign ministers meeting, with Cyprus' position indicating the issue might need to be shifted to an EU leaders summit on 14-15 December.

At the other end of the political spectrum are states like the UK and Sweden, with London finding the commission recommendation "disappointingly tough."

Meanwhile, Austria is set to join Cyprus in its call for tough sanctions, while the Dutch government is under pressure to do the same with a majority of the newly-elected Dutch parliament demanding a freeze of the entire negotiations.

France and Germany are set to co-ordinate positions in a meeting between French president Jacques Chirac and German chancellor Angela Merkel on 5 December, with Ms Merkel on Wednesday voicing support for the commission line.

Mr Chirac however faces pressure from his main political rival, interior minister and presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy, who told France 2 television "I call for the suspension of negotiations with Turkey...all negotiations."

A commission spokeswoman said on Thursday that the Italian leader Romano Prodi backs Brussels' recommendation which appears carefully positioned between member states' conflicting views on the issue.

Meanwhile, prime minister Matti Vanhanen of Finland, which currently holds the EU presidency, will visit Ankara on Friday (1 December) for talks with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with EU diplomats saying the visit is unlikely to produce a last-minute breakthrough.

EU split on Western Balkans accession

Europe's credibility is at risk in the Western Balkans, half its member states have warned - but EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Albania and North Macedonia unlikely to start accession talks soon.

Tensions mount over Kosovo-Serbia deal

Serbia will never recognise Kosovo, Serbia's foreign minister has said, as the Western Balkans heads into a new period of turbulence.

News in Brief

  1. EU adds €100m to research and Erasmus budgets
  2. Ambassador: UK Poles should 'seriously considering' leaving
  3. Trump's UK ambassador stirs up anti-EU feeling
  4. Brexit chaos is lesson to other EU states, ECB governor says
  5. EU condemns Israel's latest land grab
  6. Scotland to keep some laws aligned with EU after Brexit
  7. Spain to hold fresh election in November
  8. Turkey ups pressure on visa-free entry into EU

Opinion

EU report recognises Albania's achievements

Albania currently faces a serious crisis, which it would be foolish for all actors in the international community to ignore. Yet we must ask that our partners in Europe read Federica Mogherini's report carefully and recognise accomplishments.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. A new Commission for the one percent
  2. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'
  3. Germany adopts blockchain strategy and says no to Libra
  4. Revanchist Russia continues to rewrite European history
  5. How EU trains discriminate against the disabled
  6. These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission
  7. Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs
  8. Hungary claims EU 'witch-hunt' over rule of law hearing

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us