EP calls on EU to begin membership

IRNA, Iran
Dec 15 2004

EP calls on EU to begin membership

The European Parliament said Wednesday that the European Union should
begin accession negotiations with Turkey “without undue delay”.

MEPs adopted a resolution during a plenary debate in Strasbourg
saying that Turkey has made “impressive progress” in respecting the
political criteria, enough for negotiations on EU membership to
start..

The resolution was adopted by 407 votes in favour, 262 against and 29
abstentions in a secret ballot.

The EP is the only elected institution in the EU, but its resolution
on Turkey is not binding .

The EP resolution will be given to EU leaders meeting in Brussels
Friday to discuss Turkey`s bid to join the European bloc.

However, the EP acknowledged that problems continue to exist, such as
regarding minority rights, religious freedoms, trade union rights,
women`s rights, the role of the army, Cyprus and the relations with
Armenia.

Therefore it stressed that, in the first phase of negotiations,
priority should be given to the full application of the political
criteria.

In case of serious breaches of the political criteria, negotiations
must be suspended, said the resolution.

MEPs also underlined that starting negotiations will not
automatically result in Turkey`s accession and that appropriate ways
will have to be found “to ensure that Turkey remains fully anchored
in European structures”, should negotiations not be successfully
concluded.

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