Tuesday

26th Sep 2017

Barroso calls on Turkey to carry out more reforms

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday (10 April) called on Turkey to speed up reforms, notably in the area of human rights, noting that the country is still far from fulfilling all EU accession criteria.

"More progress is needed on a number of key issues, such as freedom of expression, democratic primacy in civil-military relations, cultural rights, trade union rights, women's and children's rights," Mr Barroso said, speaking to the Turkish parliament.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

  • Turkey has been an EU candidate since 1999. (Photo: EUobserver)

"They are part of our common values, they are central to progress and modernity and, indeed, they are also the keys to accession," he added.

On a three-day visit to Turkey together with EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn, the commission president also said he had been "surprised" by the opening of a case by the country's Constitutional Court that could eventually result in banning the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"It is not common to see this in normal, stable democratic countries," he told Turkish parliamentarians.

In addition, Mr Barroso urged Ankara to open its ports to Cypriot ships, underlining: "This is today the main obstacle for significant progress in Turkey's accession process."

Turkey does not recognise the Greek government in the southern part of the divided island, while at the same time is the only country to recognise its northern Turkish section.

Cyprus has been divided since a Turkish invasion of the island's northern part in 1974, triggered by a Greek-inspired coup.

"As you are aware, several negotiating chapters are blocked and no chapter can be closed until Turkey ensures full implementation of the additional protocol," Mr Barroso said, referring to a protocol signed in 2005 by Ankara and extending its customs union with the EU to the 10 states that joined the bloc in 2004.

However, the commission president also praised Turkey for the reforms it has conducted in the last years and said two new chapters of its EU negotiations package would be opened by July.

Turkey started accession talks in 2005 and has so far opened six out of the 35 chapters where negotiations need to be finalised before it becomes an EU member.

Bosnian parliament adopts key police reform

Meanwhile, Bosnia and Herzegovina's parliament on Thursday night approved a long-disputed police reform required as a condition by the EU before allowing the country closer to membership of the bloc.

The adopted compromise has been developed with the help of the international administrator in Bosnia, Miroslav Lajcak, while previous proposals to merge the country's two different police forces – the Serbian and Bosniak ones – had been rejected, the Associated Press reports.

It was passed by 22 to 19 votes, while one deputy abstained.

The adoption of the reform, which still has to be approved by the Upper House of the parliament, is expected to make it possible for Bosnia to sign a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU by the end of this month.

"I want to congratulate all those who made a compromise in the interest of citizens and the state. Better days are ahead of us and also a lot of work related to the SAA signature," the country's prime minister, Nikola Spiric, was quoted as saying by the BBC.

The SAA, which Bosnia initialled last December, is the first step towards EU membership for the Western Balkan countries.

Turkey accuses Merkel of racism

Turkish foreign minister said German chancellor's call to end EU accession talks was "same rhetoric as racist parties".

Juncker: Death penalty will end Turkey's EU bid

Turkish president Erdogan said he would reinstate capital punishment, for people behind last year's failed military coup. But European Commission president Juncker says the move would end Turkey's bid to join the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEEU Finance Ministers Agreed to Develop New Digital Taxation Rules
  2. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  3. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  4. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  6. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  7. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  10. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  11. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  12. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel