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Papadopoulos:Committee examines Turkey's EU accession negotiations
2004-11-05 15:25:16

by Maria Koniotou

Brussels, Nov 5 (CNA) - Cyprus, as a European Union member state, has set up a committee to look into matters relating to Turkey's European aspirations and in particular a decision on whether to start accession negotiations with Ankara, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said here today, adding that the committee responds to questions from Brussels on these issues.

''The EU presidency has asked all members to nominate a contact person it can address itself to in order to get the views of that member on various points which relate in particular to the start of membership talks with Ankara,'' he told a press conference, on the sidelines of the EU summit, where he represents the Republic of Cyprus.

He said Cyprus has set up a committee to deal with these matters and communicate the government's positions to any questions asked.

Papadopoulos said that during this European Council enlargement was not discussed, at the request of the EU Dutch Presidency, however Commission President Romano Prodi briefed Council members on the matter.

Responding to questions, Papadopoulos said that discussions on enlargement will take place during the next summit, on December 17.

He also noted that the conclusions of the December European Council are already being considered.

President Papadopoulos said the Lisbon strategy, relating to a ten-year programme to render the EU a competitive market, create new jobs, encourage development and research and promote training and economic development, was discussed at today's summit.

''We also discussed how Europe can best inform its citizens about the Union with special programmes so that the people can feel they are closer to the EU, especially in view of the process of ratification of the new European constitution,'' he added.

With regard to the issue of the recognition of FYROM by the US with its constitutional name ''Republic of Macedonia'', Papadopoulos said the EU continues to recognise the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

He said Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis speaking last night at the dinner of the heads of states raised the issue and expressed surprise that the US chose this moment to announce its decision to recognise FYROM as ''Republic of Macedonia''.

Papadopoulos said that Greece, as Karamanlis had told EU leaders, would not give its consent to FYROM joining either NATO or the EU, if this matter is not settled once and for all with mutual agreement.

On Iraq, he said ''the EU has both an interest and a role to play but the Iraqi government must be legitimized through elections and security restored before EU can play the important role it can in Iraq.''

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