EU-Turkey: Brussels, new start for adhesion process

Davutoglu, strategic for us, visas also liberalized

27 May, 15:10

    (by Chiara Spegni) (ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, MAY 27 - After a three-year-long freeze, relations between Ankara and Brussels are improving and negotiations on the adhesion process and the acceleration of a road map for the liberalization of visas should resume in June.

    'We hope the chapter on regional policies will be opened next week in a sign of reciprocal engagement to take a step forward' Irish Deputy Premier Eamon Gilmore, for the EU rotating presidency after the 51st meeting of the EU-Turkey association council in Brussels. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that 'in the past 50 years the process to become EU members has been our main objective and we now strongly believe to have a new strategic perspective on relations'. Davutoglu said progress was not being made on the adhesion process 'because 17 negotiating chapters (over a total of 35) are blocked for political reasons'.

    France's opening to Turkey at the beginning of the year was a turning point for the EU Council to re-open negotiations.

    But another key issue for relations between Brussels and Ankara is the free circulation of citizens which sees the liberalization of visas for Turkish nationals as a matter connected to Turkey's ratification of an accord on the repatriation of illegal immigrants, 80% of whom arrive in the EU by crossing Turkey's border with Greece. 'We hope to accelerate the process and reach an agreement on the liberalization of visas', said the Turkish foreign minister who spoke about 'two parallel processes'.

    Gilmore said Turkey was being encouraged to sign the readmission accord and that this step would not only ease progress on the liberalization of visas but on the adhesion process as well. The European commissioner in charge of enlargement, Stefan Fule, said he agrees the time has come to launch a dialogue on visas and the European Commission has engaged to do so. Nobody in Brussels on Monday however mentioned the issue of the 'elephant in the room' - Cyprus. Once the EU rotating presidency ends along with the boycott on Ankara, a new chapter will begin. (ANSAmed)
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