The EU’s bid to diversify its energy sources and guarantee supply security could bring about the opening of the fifteenth "chapter" or EU's accession policy area on energy, currently being blocked by the Greek Cypriots, in Turkey’s accession process say experts.
Turkey has to successfully conclude negotiations in 35 policy "chapters," which require reforms and the adoption of European standards, for its EU membership.
Since 2005 Turkey has been in negotiations on 13 of these policy areas and back in November 2013, following three years of deadlock, negotiations began on chapter 22 covering regional policy after Germany lifted its block following a positive progress report in October 2013.
A spokesperson for EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said "the Commission has been considering for years that Turkey is sufficiently prepared to start negotiations on the energy chapter," adding, "in our view the chapter could be opened and the Commission has repeatedly expressed this view in public. However, all 28 EU member states need to agree on this unanimously and so far this has not been possible."
The spokesperson continued saying that the problem with the opening of this chapter is the unresolved issue of Cyprus.
According to Samuel Doveri Vesterbye, an expert on Turkey at the Canada-based BBA consulting and engineering firm and board-member of the pro-EU-Turkey dialogue group Young Friends of Turkey, said "France has changed its position vis-a-vis Turkey, as can be see with the opening of chapter 22. Secondly, the situation in Cyprus is changing quickly. This is a result of increased U.S. pressure on the island, while Turkish, EU, local players as well as private companies are pushing for more meetings and negotiations."
Research director at the Italy-based free marketeering think tank Istituto Bruno Leoni, Carlos Stagnaro, said, "both parties would benefit from market integration and more efficient use of energy assets on either side."
There is also large scope for cooperation on energy security insofar as Turkey is a key transit country for natural gas from the EU's point of view and Europe is the most important end market for natural gas going through Turkey, Stagnaro noted.
Meanwhile, Peter Stano, spokesperson for the EU's top enlargement official Stefan Fule, explained that for the period 2014-2020 the objectives are to "improve Turkey's interconnectivity and integration with European electricity and gas markets […] and to enhance the regulatory and operational framework of nuclear safety in line with EU standards."
However, Aylin Caglayan Ozcan, head of sectoral policies department at Turkey’s EU Ministry head, says Turkey is already harmonizing its energy policies with the EU’s as if the chapter is already open as they are regarded "as works that should already be done."
Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Mayıs 2014, 10:58