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Commission receives letter from Turkey to sign EU protocol
2005-03-29 10:28:00

by Nicos Bellos

Brussels, Mar 29 (CNA) – The European Commission has received a letter confirming that it is ready to sign the protocol extending its custom union agreement with the new EU members, including Cyprus.

Krisztina Nagy, spokeswoman for Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said the EU executive had received the letter and would set in motion a decision by EU ministers leading to the signature of the accord, in time for the EU to start accession negotiations with the EU.

She said the Commission considered the Turkish restrictions on vessels and aircraft from Cyprus violated the customs union.

"The Commission has consistently reminded Turkey that those restrictions have to be removed most recently at the last EU troika meeting in Ankara”, she added.

Nagy said the content of the Turkish government letter agrees with the protocol for the Ankara Agreement. The Council of Ministers, she said, would continue the procedure, which will lead to the signing of the protocol. The European Parliament will also issue a recommendation.

Asked if in the letter there is any mention of non-recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey, Nagy replied that no such reference was being made.

Nagy emphasized that in the EU’s view, “the signing of the protocol is not a legal and formal recognition of the Republic of Cyprus”.

However, she said the Commission has received assurances that the Turkish government will sign the protocol before the 3rd of October 2005 when the accession negotiations are due to begin.

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