Turkish FM to evaluate negotiation process with EU

Turkish FM Babacan will meet his French counterpart in Paris on Saturday.

Turkish FM to evaluate negotiation process with EU
Turkey's Foreign Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Ali Babacan said Friday that the Turkish government hoped to promote negotiations with the same determination during France's rotating presidency.

Babacan held a press briefing at Ankara's Esenboga International Airport prior to his departure for Brussels on Friday.

He said that political obstacles before opening a few more chapter headings for negotiations between Turkey and the European Union could be removed in the coming period.

"We hope to open as many chapters as possible for negotiations during France's rotating presidency," Babacan said.

"I am travelling to Brussels to evaluate the negotiation process with the EU Commission. I will hold talks with the EU Commissioner in charge of Enlargement Olli Rehn and the EU commissioner in charge of energy," Babacan said.

"Following my talks in Brussels, I will proceed to Paris to attend a Summit of Union for Mediterranean," Babacan said. He will meet his French counterpart in Paris on Saturday.

"The Summit of Union for Mediterranean will focus on the goals and working methods of the entity. We will make decisions for the development of peace, stability and welfare in the Mediterranean region," Babacan said.

The meeting is important for Turkey as France holds the rotating EU Presidency.

France which opposes Turkey's full membership to the EU and offers "privileged partnership" instead, announced earlier that it would not object to the opening of two or three chapters to negotiations during its term as EU President.

Under the French presidency, "free travel of capital", "energy," "culture and education" chapters are expected to be opened for negotiation.

"We have started to get some positive signals following our moves," he said.

"For instance, chapter headings on energy, as well as economic and monetary policy... These chapters have long been ready to open," Babacan said. "Opening of these chapters is completely related to political approaches but some chapters are obstructed by some member countries."

However, Babacan said those obstacles could be removed in the coming period, stating that Turkish officials got positive signals from the Union.

Asked about a possible surprise regarding the Union for the Mediterranean and Turkey's EU process, Babacan said France-suggested project would not be an alternative to Turkey's EU bid.

"We took pledges over pledges. French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Mr. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and gave a guarantee," Babacan said. "We have to rely on these pledges if a European leader gave his word."

He also said that Turkey would be a part of this new establishment, looking out both its interests and the Mediterranean's common benefits.

Last Mod: 11 Temmuz 2008, 15:54
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