1st Oct 2022

Brussels puts toughest-ever entry talks regime on Turks and Croats

The European Commission on Thursday (20 October) started the screening of Turkish and Croatian legislation – the first step in preparing accession negotiations with the two countries.

The kick-off of Brussels' examination of Ankara and Zagreb’s legislation comes after both countries received the green light from EU member states on 3 October to open membership talks with the bloc.

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

  • Current troubles with Romania and Bulgaria have prompted Brussels to revise its strategy (Photo: Council)

A detailed screening of law books, which will take around one year, precedes the actual opening of the 35 negotiating chapters themselves.

But chapters, which cover different areas of law, can already be opened while others are still being screened, and the first chapter could possibly be opened at the beginning of next year, one commission source indicated.

The first chapter to be opened will not necessarily be an "easy" one such as science and research, for which screening started on Thursday.

A commission source said that contrary to previous enlargement rounds, Brussels wants to tackle difficult chapters at an early stage, naming agriculture and public procurement as examples of heavy policy dossiers.

"In the last enlargement round we did not start early enough with difficult chapters, leading to the impression with candidate states that the negotiations were easy".

"At a too late stage, we were faced with difficult issues".

The current troubles with the judiciary in Romania and Bulgaria, shortly before they are scheduled to join the EU in 2007, have been one important factor in prompting the revision of the commission's strategy, said another commission source.

Extra conditions on opening of chapters

On top of this, Brussels is ready to systematically impose conditions on Turkey and Croatia for the opening and closure of each individual chapter - an instrument which previous candidate member states only faced in exceptional circumstances.

"This is an important investment in the interest of candidate states", the source said, adding that this would prevent Ankara or Zagreb from making "commitments that at the end they would find difficult to fulfil".

In the case of Turkey, Brussels could demand as a precondition for opening the "free movement of goods" chapter, that Ankara fully implement the customs agreement it has signed with the EU.

In practical terms, this means that Ankara would be obliged to stop banning ships and planes from Cyprus - which is not recognised by the Turks - from its territory.

The opening and closing of each of the 35 negotiating chapters can only occur with the consent of all 25 EU member states - effectively providing member states with a possibility to block negotiations at any stage.

The commission source highlighted the EU's dominance in the accession preparations, saying that accession "negotiations" is in fact the "wrong word" to use, as there is "very little to negotiate about".


Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

EUobserver spoke with several business figures and all confirmed they voted for Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy because it promised stability, less bureaucracy and tax cuts. Matteo Salvini's anti-EU rhetoric scared them, while they trust Meloni has "more common sense".

Europe's far-right celebrates Meloni victory

In Warsaw and Budapest, the prime ministers were quick to congratulate the new Italian leader, who — they hope — will back them in their battles with the EU over civil rights, rule of law and democratic backsliding.

EU seeks crisis powers to take control over supply chains

The Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI) introduces a staged, step-by-step, approach — providing emergency powers to the EU Commission to tackle any potential threat which could trigger disruptions or shortages of key products within the EU.

Testimony from son rocks trial of ex-Czech PM Babiš

In a fraud trial relating to €2m in EU subsidies, Andrej Babiš son testified his signature on share-transfer agreements was forged. He claims his father transferred the shares to him without his knowledge, making him a front man for scheme.


How Europe helped normalise Georgia Meloni

Should Georgia Meloni be considered neofascist? She insists she's a patriotic conservative. And indeed, if she's prime minister, she's expected to respect Italy's democracy — if only to keep money flowing from the EU.

News in Brief

  1. EU ministers adopt measures to tackle soaring energy bills
  2. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  3. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  4. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  5. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  6. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  7. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  8. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Putin declares holy war on Western 'satanism'
  2. Two elections and 'Macron's club' in focus Next WEEK
  3. EU agrees windfall energy firm tax — but split on gas-price cap
  4. Ukrainian chess prodigy: 'We are not going to resign ... anywhere'
  5. Going Down Under — EU needs to finish trade deal with Australia
  6. MEPs worry Russian disinfo weakens support for Ukraine
  7. Everything you need to know about the EU gas price cap plan
  8. Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us