Monday

26th Aug 2019

No EU-Turkey talks until October

  • Thousands have been injured and six people have died in almost three weeks of clashes (Photo: Lars K. Christensen)

The restart of EU-Turkey accession talks has been postponed from Wednesday (26 June) until at least October following a German request.

EU foreign ministers agreed the step at a General Affairs Council (GAC) in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

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

According to an EU source, the text of the formal conclusions says: "The Council agrees to open Chapter 22 and underscores that the IGC [intergovernmental conference] with Turkey will take place after the presentation of the commission's annual progress report and following a discussion of the GAC which will confirm the common position of the Council for the opening of Chapter 22 and determine the date for the accession conference."

The decision amounts to a "political assent" to open the new chapter, on regional development.

The European Commission is to file its progress report on Turkey's EU reform credentials in October.

But the GAC text underlines that the talks might not take place if the commission gives Turkey bad marks.

Germany tabled its proposal following a Turkish police crackdown on anti-government protests, which continue to rumble on.

It was backed by Austria and the Netherlands.

But the majority of EU countries and the commission wanted to go ahead this week, saying negotiations would help the EU to exert pressure on Turkish authorities.

For their part, Turkish diplomats earlier warned there would be a "harsh" reaction if Wednesday's IGC was cancelled.

But its foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, put a positive spin on the EU decision on Tuesday.

He told press in Ankara that: "Chapter 22 has been opened. The question has been resolved."

Meanwhile, the delay means the EU decision will fall after German elections in September.

A pro-Turkish decision could have cost Chancellor Angela Merkel right wing votes.

Her CDU party in its election manifesto this week in any case said Turkey should never join the Union because "given the size of the country and its economic structure, the European Union would be overwhelmed."

But German diplomats deny that their October talks proposal was linked to domestic politics.

EU-Turkey negotiations stalled in 2010 due to a veto by Cyprus, which is locked in a decades-old frozen conflict with Turkey over Turkish-occupied north Cyprus.

The impasse has seen Turkish public support for EU membership fall from over 70 percent in 2011 to around 30 percent today.

Opinion

Happy Anniversary? EU-Turkey relations at age 50

Half a century has passed since the signing of the Ankara agreement. Yet today there is neither fireworks nor meaningful debate about the future of EU-Turkey relations.

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

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

Latest News

  1. Western leaders disagree on Russia, Iran, and Brazil
  2. Belgium: Parties clash on Reynders as EU commissioner
  3. Spain heading for yet another general election
  4. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  5. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  6. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  7. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  8. EU considers new rules on facial recognition

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us