EU Dutch Presidency delivers draft conclusions on Turkey
by Nicos Bellos
Brussels, Nov 29 (CNA) --- The Dutch Presidency of the European Union submitted today to the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the EU member states (COREPER) a first draft of the conclusions to be arrived at by the European Council at its meeting on 16-17 December 2004.
The draft conclusions said the European Council ''welcomed Turkey's [ decision ] to sign the protocol regarding the adaptation of the Ankara Agreement (Customs Union), taking account of the accession of the new Member States'', including the Republic of Cyprus.
Moreover the European Council ''welcomed the decisive progress made by Turkey in its far-reaching reform process and reiterated its determination to enable Turkey to join the European community of values, confident that Turkey will sustain the process of reform to that end''.
The draft conclusions said that the European Council ''welcomed Turkey's commitment to good neighbourly relations and its readiness to continue to work with Member States towards resolution of remaining border disputes, in conformity with the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the United Nations Charter''.
Although it is not stated if and when the Turkey - EU accession negotiations is going to start, the draft text makes clear that the negotiations will not be concluded before 2014.
It is also added that there is a possibility to break the negotiations in the case of serious violations of human rights, of principles of freedom and democracy as well as the rule of law.
The proposal for suspending the negotiations could be made either by the Commission, or by one third of the member states, or by the Council of Ministers by qualified majority.
The first eight paragraphs of the draft conclusions regarding enlargement state:
1. The European Council welcomed the findings and recommendations presented by the Commission on 6 October 2004 to the Council and the European Parliament in its Regular Reports on Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, Strategy Paper on Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia, Recommendation on Turkey and document on Issues Arising from Turkey's Membership Perspective.
2. With the accession of ten new Member States to the European Union successfully accomplished, the European Council expressed its determination to continue the process it has engaged in with the candidate countries, thus contributing to Europe's prosperity, stability and unity.
3. The European Council recalled its previous conclusions regarding Turkey, in which at a first stage it agreed that Turkey was a candidate state destined to join the Union on the basis of the same criteria as applied to the other candidate states and, subsequently, concluded that, if it were to decide at its December 2004 meeting, on the basis of a report and recommendation from the Commission, that Turkey fulfils the Copenhagen political criteria, the European Union will open accession negotiations with Turkey without delay.
4. The European Council welcomed the decisive progress made by Turkey in its far-reaching reform process and reiterated its determination to enable Turkey to join the European community of values, confident that Turkey will sustain the process of reform to that end.
5. The European Council welcomed Turkey's [ decision ] to sign the protocol regarding the adaptation of the Ankara Agreement, taking account of the accession of the new Member States.
6. The European Council welcomed Turkey's commitment to good neighbourly relations and its readiness to continue to work with Member States towards resolution of remaining border disputes, in conformity with the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the United Nations Charter.
7. The European Council noted the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on […] December 2005.
Framework for negotiations
8. The European Council agreed that accession negotiations with individual candidate states will be based on a framework for negotiations. This framework, which will be established by the Council on a proposal by the Commission, taking account of each candidate's own merits and of the experience of the fifth enlargement process, will address the following elements.
· As in previous negotiations, the substance of the negotiations, which will be conducted in an Intergovernmental Conference where decisions require unanimity, will be broken down into a number of chapters, each covering a specific policy area. The Council, on a proposal by the Commission, will lay down benchmarks for the opening and provisional closure of each chapter.
· Long transition periods may be needed and specific arrangements, in areas such as structural policies and agriculture, as well as permanent safeguard clauses, notably in the area of the free movement of persons. Furthermore, the decision-taking process regarding the eventual establishment of freedom of movement of persons should allow for a maximum role for individual Member States. Transitional arrangements or safeguards should be reviewed regarding their impact on competition or the functioning of the internal market.
· The financial aspects of accession of a candidate state must be allowed for in the applicable Financial Framework. Hence, accession negotiations yet to be opened with candidates whose accession could have substantial financial consequences can only be concluded after the establishment of the Financial Framework for the period from 2014, which should entail a structural reform of funding and expenditure of the European Union.