EU set to cancel key meeting on Turkish accession negotiations

Accessions negotiations between Turkey and the EU have been at a virtual standstill for close to three years

 Taksim Square, Istanbul: Germany last week blocked plans to proceed with tomorrow’s EU meeting on accession, amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries, after Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply criticised Turkey’s handling of the recent anti-government protests. Photograph:  Marko Djurica/Reuters

Taksim Square, Istanbul: Germany last week blocked plans to proceed with tomorrow’s EU meeting on accession, amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries, after Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply criticised Turkey’s handling of the recent anti-government protests. Photograph: Marko Djurica/Reuters

Tue, Jun 25, 2013, 01:00


The European Union was poised last night to cancel a key meeting with Turkish counterparts scheduled for tomorrow, diminishing hopes that accession talks between the two blocs could be reignited.

Accessions negotiations between Turkey and the EU have been at a virtual standstill for close to three years, but there was hope that an EU-Turkey intergovernmental conference scheduled by the Irish presidency of the Council of the European Union for tomorrow could reopen negotiations.

However, Germany last week blocked plans to proceed with tomorrow’s meeting, amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries, after Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply criticised Turkey’s handling of the recent anti-government protests. While the Irish presidency has yet to make a formal decision on cancelling the meeting, the possible delay raises questions about the appetite among EU member states for Turkey’s accession to the union, with a number of member states supporting Germany’s decision.


Serbia/Kosovo accession
Meanwhile, foreign and European affairs ministers will discuss Serbia and Kosovo’s accession to the EU at a meeting of the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg today, which will be chaired by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore.

Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton will represent Ireland at the talks. Serbia hopes to be given an official date for the start of EU accession talks, while Kosovo may be offered a stabilisation and association agreement, following a historic accord signed between the two blocs in April.

While Kosovo declared its status as an independent country in 2008, Serbia does not recognise its status. But the EU is demanding that Serbia normalise relations with its neighbours before joining the EU. Among the issues of contention is control over Serb-dominated northern Kosovo.


Progress made
Speaking after a meeting of foreign affairs ministers in Luxembourg yesterday, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said progress had been made towards “visible and sustainable normalisation relations between the” two, highlighting the closure of some Serb-controlled police stations in the Northern area.