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Filori: Reforms not fast enough for EU membership 22 mai 2014

Posted by Acturca in EU / UE, Turkey / Turquie, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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Today’s Zaman (Turkey) Wednesday, May 22, 2014, p. 4

Istanbul

Jean-Christophe Filori, the head of the Turkey unit at the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate General for Enlargement, said last week that there are three obstacles before Turkey’s European Union membership, emphasizing that Turkey’s democratic reforms have been reversed in recent times.

“There are three obstacles [to Turkey’s EU membership]. The first one is Turkey itself. Turkey is not acting quickly enough in terms of democratic reforms. I can even say it’s going backwards,” he said in remarks to a group of Turkish businessmen in Brussels.

Filori said the second problem is that Turkey is not well known by people in the EU. “People in Europe do not know Turkey very well. We are aware that Turkey is a modern country with a high rate of employment. However, Europeans are not used to a country such as Turkey, with its variety of people,” he noted, adding that European prejudice towards Turkey will diminish in time as long as Turkey remains a modern and dynamic country.

According to the senior EU representative, Cyprus is also one of the major problems for Turkey’s EU bid. “There is a [Greek-Cypriot] leader who has said ‘Yes’ to the Annan plan for the first time. It’s a great opportunity and all sides should be supportive,” Filori said.

US Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to meet with Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) President Derviş Eroğlu on Thursday during his visit to the ethnically divided island this week. His visit to the island is considered a positive step for the peace talks that kicked off at the beginning of this year.

Turkey opened accession negotiations with the EU in 2005 following a series of political reforms carried out in the early years of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government. But the process has since lost its momentum due to some EU countries’ reluctance to admit Turkey and the persistence of the Cyprus problem.

Turkey’s EU bid was the subject of a televised debate on May 8 between the candidates for the EC presidency, who are Martin Schulz, current president of the European Parliament (EP), and Jean-Claude Juncker, the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) candidate. Both candidates expressed their opposition to the admission of new member states to the EU. Junker said a nation that bans Twitter does not belong in the EU.

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