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EU would ‘lose credibility’ if it blocks Turkey entry 8 mai 2010

Posted by Acturca in EU / UE, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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Agence France Presse

8 mai 2010

Former Spanish prime minister Felipe Gonzalez on Saturday warned that the European Union would « lose credibility » on the world stage if it backs down from a commitment to bring Turkey on-board.

« Europe should honour its commitment, » Gonzalez told reporters after unveiling a million-euro report into the bloc’s future commissioned by national leaders.

It « should not lose credibility by not being able to proceed, » he underlined in comments delivered in Spanish through EU interpreters.

The Spaniard, who chaired a panel of 12 « wise heads » including ex-Solidarity icon and former Polish president Lech Walesa, said « very intensive discussions » on the issue ended with a « majority » view « accepted by all » despite « a great deal of baggage attached. »

The report’s conclusions, delivered on the 60th anniversary of a declaration considered the bloc’s founding text, said that the EU « must honour its commitments with regard to current official enlargement candidates, including Turkey, and pursue the path of negotiation. »

He stressed that if negotiations had started with any country, Brussels could not unilaterally pull out.

« If the European council believes it does not have sufficient margin for maneouvre to complete negotiations with Turkey or any other country, something has to be agreed between both parties, » he said.

Turkey began EU membership talks in 2005, the following year saw the EU freeze talks in eight of the 35 policy areas, known as chapters, which candidate countries must successfully negotiate prior to membership.

That followed Ankara’s refused to implement a protocol to open its air and sea ports to Cyprus, an EU member state, until the EU moves on its pledge to ease the international isolation of the island’s breakaway Turkish-held north.

Turkey also refuses to acknowledge the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government until the island’s division is resolved.

Sluggish domestic reform as well as disquiet among some EU-member states over allowing such a large and largely Muslim nation into the bloc have also been cited as reasons behind opposition.

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