Posted on 14 February 2011
EU opens two more chapters for accession
Defying France, EU opens two more chapters for accession. In what appeared to be open defiance of Paris, the European Union has opened two more chapters for the accession of Turkey to the 27-member club, sending out strong signals in support of Turkey’s full membership ambition.
Using the word accession in every possible sentence and speech, both the Portuguese presidency and the European Commission underlined that the aim of the talks was nothing but accession, in a blunt rebuttal of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s insistence on diverting the direction of talks toward a privileged partnership. In an apparent show of solidarity with Turkey, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will visit Turkey in early 2008, announced Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn.
At the insistence of France, the EU had last week omitted the phrase of “accession” from Foreign Ministers conclusions and renamed the “accession conference” the “intergovernmental conference.”
Barroso’s planned official visit to Turkey in the first months of 2008 is seen as another blow to Sarkozy. Rehn announced that Barroso will be soon visiting Turkey to show that accession process with Turkey is going on the right track.
Diplomats say the visit is a very direct message to Sarkozy; Barroso has on many occasions clashed with Sarkozy on the subject of accession talks with Turkey. Barroso will be only the second commission president to visit Turkey despite 50 years of relations between Ankara and Brussels. Former Commission President Romano Prodi, currently the prime minister of Italy, first visited Turkey back in 2004.
With the fourth accession conference with Turkey yesterday, the EU launched trans-European network, and consumer and health protection chapters with Turkey, marking six chapters that have been opened with Turkey since Oct. 3, 2005.
ZAMAN TODAY – BRUSSELS 20 December 2007