EU/Turkey: Draft Parliamentary Report Stands Firm On Turkish Accessi


European Report
October 27, 2004

“The launch of accession negotiations with Turkey is only the starting
point of a long process, one that must remain open, i.e. that need not
necessarily lead to accession”, according to Camiel Eurlings (EPP,
Netherlands) the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the issue of
Turkey’s accession to the EU. His view jars with that of the European
Commission which, on October 6, said Turkey has made sufficient
progress to meet the Copenhagen criteria (respect for human rights in
general) to justify starting negotiations toward full EU membership.
Whist it concurs with European Commission’s recommendation and notably
scope for suspending negotiations in the event of serious human rights
failings by Ankara, the report by Mr Eurlings is likely to recommend
the opening of negotiations only to the extent that they address
the Copenhagen political criteria and only proceed thereafter with
an examination chapter by chapter. Other priorities for the Turkish
authorities should include combating torture, violence in the family
and corruption. A consensus should also be reached with Armenia on the
Armenian genocide and Ankara should make every effort to contribute
to resolving the Cypriot question, according to Mr Eurlings.

Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee is due to stage a first debate
on the Eurlings report on the evening of October 26 on the fringes
of the Assembly’s plenary session in Strasbourg. Once adopted by
the Assembly, this opinion will be presented to EU Heads of State
and Government in advance of the December 17 European Council at
which the Member States are due to decide whether to open accession
negotiations with Ankara.