French Senate moves to scrap measure on Turkey's EU entry

A French Senate committee on Wednesday rejected a measure that would have made a referendum on Turkey's membership in the European Union mandatory, saying it could harm relations with Ankara.

French Senate moves to scrap measure on Turkey's EU entry
The foreign relations and defence committee said the provision of a bill adopted by the National Assembly last month "could appear to be directed against a friendly state and ally of France, that is Turkey."

It would "likely cause grave harm to diplomatic relations between France and this country," a statement from the committee said.

The National Assembly voted on May 29 to make a referendum mandatory for accepting new countries with populations totalling more than five percent the bloc's entire size -- a move that affects Turkey.

The provision is part of a bill on institutional reform to be submitted to a vote in July.

Sources in parliament said the measure was now likely to be blocked by the Senate.

Turkey had warned that the move could harm relations, saying in a foreign ministry statement that it was "irked by efforts to enshrine such a discriminatory approach towards Turkey in the French constitution despite the fact that accession negotiations (between Turkey and the EU) have started with France's consent."

President Nicolas Sarkozy is a vocal opponent of Turkey's entry into the European Union, arguing that the mainly Muslim country does not belong in Europe.

Instead, he proposes a "privileged partnership," an idea Turkey rejects.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Haziran 2008, 10:43