Saturday

21st Oct 2017

EU-US summit exposes divisions over Turkey

France and Germany in Prague on Sunday (5 April) poured cold water on US calls to press ahead with Turkish enlargement. In a seperate development, Czech politicians named statistician Jan Fischer as the country's new caretaker prime minister.

"The United States and Europe must approach Muslims as our friends, neighbours and partners in fighting injustice, intolerance and violence," US President Barack Obama said at an EU-US summit in the Czech capital.

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.

  • EU leaders met the new US president (c) at an extraordinary summit, as traditional after every US election (Photo: eu2009.cz)

"Moving forward toward Turkish membership in the EU would be an important signal of your commitment to this agenda and ensure that we continue to anchor Turkey firmly in Europe."

The remarks drew criticism for interference in EU affairs from French leader Nicolas Sarkozy, who reiterated his long-standing opposition to Turkish accession.

"I have been working hand-in-hand with President Obama but when it comes to the European Union it's up to member states of the European Union to decide," he told France's TF1 TV station from Prague.

"I have always been opposed to this entry and I still am. I think I can say the immense majority of member states shares the position of France."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel used more diplomatic language, saying the EU should have a "close link" with Turkey. "In which manner and way that occurs, whether as a privileged partnership or a full member state, we're still talking about that."

Turkey began EU accession talks in 2004. But the process is being held up by historic enmity between Turkey and EU member Cyprus and broader EU worries over Turkish respect for Western values such as freedom of the press.

The US leader also urged Europe to take in Guantanamo Bay prisoners after the camp is shut down and to "do more" for the Afghanistan war effort - two areas where EU states remain divided.

He called the EU-US relationship "one of the key foundations for progress in the world" and urged a common approach on global warming, one week after Democrats in Washington put forward a bill to cut CO2 by 20 percent by 2020 on 2005 levels, falling slightly short of EU targets.

"We welcome the steps taken by the new American administration and the increasing convergence between the European and US position on that matter," European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso said.

Greenpeace says the cuts should hit 40 percent by 2020 on 1990 levels if they are to make an impact.

Mr Obama flew to Ankara after the EU-US meeting for the last leg of his European tour. The Wall Street Journal reports that Turkey is to unfreeze diplomatic relations with Armenia to coincide with the US visit.

New EU president

In unrelated developments, Czech political parties on Sunday nominated the head of the country's statistics office, Jan Fischer, to take over as prime minister until snap elections on 9 October.

If formally approved, the 58-year old mathematician and former Communist party member will take the reins on 9 May.

With the Czech Republic currently holding the EU presidency, Mr Fischer would be eligible to chair the EU-China summit later that month and the EU summit in June. A new caretaker cabinet will chair the 17 EU minister-level meetings left.

The Czech government fell in a no confidence vote on 24 March, at an embarassing time ahead of the US summit.

Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift

EU leaders at their summit spent some three hours deliberating on relations with Turkey before asking the EU commission to come up with a plan on cutting and reorienting some €4.5 billion in pre-accession aid.

Turkey accuses Merkel of racism

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

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  2. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving up to 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  3. European Jewish CongressEJC Applauds the Bulgarian Government for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  4. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  5. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  8. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  9. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  10. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  11. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  12. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks