April 8, 2004
France against early Turkish EU membership
Michel Barnier’s comments have caused uproar (Photo: EU Commission)
France’s new foreign minister Michel Barnier has caused a furore by
saying that France would oppose Turkey’s entry into the EU “under
The former European Commissioner, who was named foreign minister after
a government reshuffle last week, told French parliament on Wednesday
(7 April) that Ankara has not met the conditions necessary for
“Turkey does not respect the conditions, even if it is preparing to do
so,” he said, adding that there was “no question” of Turkey’s joining
the EU “under current circumstances.”
He was joined in his comments by Alain Juppé, leader of the
centre-right UMP and a close associate of French President Jacques
Mr Juppé said countries on the periphery of the growing EU, such as
Turkey, “have no business joining (the bloc), otherwise it will be
“The UMP does not want to see discussions with Turkey at the end of
The comments caused uproar in the Turkish media, however Turkish
politicians have attempted to play them down.
“Various exaggerated words can be said for reasons related to domestic
politics,” said Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, according to the
Anatolia news agency.
But France’s words are significant as all member states have to give
the nod of approval when the decision is taken at the end of the year
on Ankara’s eligibility for starting membership negotiations.
However, the mainly Muslim country does have friends in the EU. Both
Germany and the UK have spoken out strongly in favour of beginning
membership negotiations with the country if it meets the political
criteria for joining.
Member states will take the decision at the end of this year based on
a report by the European Commission to be published in October.
Written by Honor Mahony
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From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress