Renewed Vigour In EU Accession Progress Continues

More progress towards EU accession for Turkey as European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle called for the opening of the energy chapter of negotiations.

“The [European] Commission thinks that Turkey is ready to negotiate the energy chapter,” Füle said in a written statement to the European Parliament. Füle also noted that “not every member of the EU approved of the opening of the energy chapter.”

Füle said “energy” was not among the eight chapters the EU suspended in retaliation for Turkey’s refusal to establish trade links with the Greek Cypriot administration.

The announcement follows a similar one made by Füle in February in which he told of the EU Committee of Permanent Representatives’ (COREPER) agreement on Turkey‘s opening Chapter 22 of the negotiations. Chapter 22 is on Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments, as part of Turkey’s accession negotiations. Then it was to be the first chapter opened in 2.5 years.

However, Turkey is trying to accelerate the process to open one of the chapters that is not blocked by either France or Greek Cyprus.

France announced Feb. 12 that it would assist Turkey in opening one of the five chapters once blocked by Paris for Ankara’s long-stalled EU membership talks. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had also said she was in favour of such a move before embarking on her recent visit to Turkey. A Turkish delegation headed by EU Minister Egemen Bağış met with Füle in Brussels to request the opening of the 19th chapter on social policies as part of the accession negotiations.

There are 35 chapters in total for Turkey to complete negotiations on and progress has been an insult to slow. This looks set to change now as the EU is beginning to look desperate to bring Turkey into the fold, perhaps because of its decaying economic situation or to stop Turkey from turning completely to the east.