Turkey-EU: Europe wants stalled negotiations to resume

We have common interests, Enlargement Commissioner Fule says

10 October, 19:22

(ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 10 - EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule expressed hope that Turkey's accession talks would be revived after the European Commission's progress report was released on Wednesday.

''Turkey is a key country for the EU, we have common interests. The European Commission recommends that the negotiations be resumed,'' Fule said. In May, the commissioner was in Ankara as Turkey and the EU officially launched a ''positive agenda'' to put the accession negotiations back on track after years of stagnation.

Turkey and the EU formally began accession negotiations in 2005, but these stalled on Turkey's refusal to recognize Cyprus.

In June, the Turkish foreign ministry announced Turkey will not attend any event presided over by Cyprus, which assumed the European Union presidency a month later.

Another stumbling block was stiff opposition from some member states, including France, with former President Nicolas Sarkozy recommending privileged partnership in lieu of full EU membership. The change of administration in France has not brought a change of policy with it.

''The keys to unblocking the situation are in the hands of both Turkey and the EU. The member states must reflect,'' said Fule. In its report on enlargement, the European Commission expressed concerns on Turkey's human rights record, beginning with the widespread use of anti-terrorism and organized crime laws. ''These lead to violations of the right to liberty and security, the right to fair trial and freedom of expression, of assembly and association,'' the report said.

Also on Wednesday, Fule rejected Turkish allegations that the EU is slack on anti-terrorism cooperation. ''We have taken steps forward on this issue, and we are working with the member states,'' the commissioner said. ''Our cooperation has improved and we have concrete proposals to make: let us now go beyond words.'' (ANSAmed).

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