Wednesday

20th Mar 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.

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. North Macedonia EU-membership talks set for June
  2. EU ups benefits rights for mobile workers
  3. Chinese leader visits Italy, France as Rome joins 'Silk Road'
  4. EU agrees to sanction political parties breaching data rules
  5. EPP votes Wednesday on future of Orban's party
  6. Nordic MEP candidates in first ever joint EU election debate
  7. Merkel: I will fight to the 'last hour' for orderly Brexit
  8. EU affairs ministers demand Brexit clarity from London

Opinion

EU should brace for a more authoritarian Erdogan

The new blend of religious nationalism will be more anti-West and anti-EU, as Brussels has anything but leverage on Turkey. The first signs of this strong rhetoric are already visible.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Latest News

  1. US glyphosate verdict gives ammunition to EU activists
  2. Have a good reason for Brexit extension, Barnier tells UK
  3. EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance
  4. EU rolls out €525m for military projects, but bars illegal tech
  5. May to seek Brexit extension amid UK 'constitutional crisis'
  6. Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides
  7. My plan for defending rule of law in EU
  8. Anti-corruption lawyer wins first round of Slovak elections

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us