Posted on 19 February 2013
According to EU Minister Egemen Bagis, Turkey is due to present a draft action plan concerning the opening of a new chapter in its bid for European Union membership. Apparently it has fulfilled the benchmarks for the opening of a new negotiation chapter which will be presented to the EU Commission.
In the past France has been instrumental in blocking Turkey’s attempt to open further chapters, but in mid-February it announced it would now assist the country in opening one of these chapters, Chapter 22, “Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments.”
This was originally one of the five chapters blocked by Paris and is extremely important in helping to eliminate discrepancies between member states, and the discrepancies between different regions within the member country.
Turkey already has a number of development agencies throughout the provinces, and this particular project is one that the country has already prepared for extensively, and is confident it has fulfilled the opening benchmarks. The next step is to prepare the action plan. Bagis is to review the action plan with the undersecretary before it is presented to the EU Commission.
Turkey still has a long way to go before it can gain full EU membership, and has been in talks for the past eight years. So far it has only completed one of the 35 chapters that have to be concluded for entry to be permitted. In the past Paris has blocked five of these chapters, so it’s a significant that the country is now willing to assist Turkey. However it still remains to be seen what will happen about the remaining four chapters that have been blocked by Paris.