Tuesday

27th Feb 2024

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

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

Feature

Only Palestinians paying thousands of dollars leave Gaza

Despite the high risk of dying from war, starvation or disease, Gazans are still not allowed to enter Egypt. Except those who bribe the authorities. And the EU mission EUBAM Rafah cannot be deployed due to security reasons.

Latest News

  1. All of Orbán's MPs back Sweden's Nato entry
  2. India makes first objection to EU carbon levy at WTO summit
  3. Angry farmers block Brussels again, urge fix to 'unfair' prices
  4. Luxembourg denies blind spot on Nato security vetting
  5. Record rate-profits sees EU banks give shareholders €120bn
  6. Why the EU silence on why Orban's €10bn was unblocked?
  7. Far-right MEPs least disciplined in following party line
  8. More farmers, Ukraine aid, Yulia Navalnaya in focus This WEEK

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us