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European Parliament Rapporteur says recommendation on Turkey a ''weak signal''
2006-11-30 09:20:28

Nicosia, Nov 29 - European Parliament's Rapporteur on Turkey, Camiel Eurlings (EPP MEP), believes the European Commission's recommendation for the freezing of eight chapters in Turkey's accession negotiations ''gives a weak signal'' adding that ''not fulfilling the criteria has virtually no consequence.''

''This signal also undermines the efforts of the Finnish Prime Minister, Matti Vanhanen, in seeking a solution regarding the non-implementation of the Ankara protocol,'' he added in a press release.

According to the Dutch MEP ''if one considers the reactions from several Member States there is still an open question as to what the Council of Ministers will do with this recommendation.''

''We must not forget that the Ankara-Protocol is an agreement between the EU Member States and Turkey,'' Mr. Eurlings added, noting that ''normalisation of the trade relations with Cyprus was a hard-won European condition at the summit in December 2004, and at the start of the negotiations in September 2005.''

''The continued closure of ports and airfields for ships and planes from Cyprus cannot remain without consequences,'' he added.

Mr. Eurlings also expressed hope that the efforts by the Finnish Prime Minister will be successful - so that no chapters have to be put on ice and the train can keep going.''

Meanwhile, the Cyprus Government also expressed dissatisfaction over the “weak signal.”

Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said yesterday that ''the freezing of some chapters in the accession negotiations of Turkey with the simultaneous continuation of the country's accession course as if nothing had happened does not constitute a sanction.''

He also said that ''for the Cypriot government the freezing of some chapters in the accession negotiations of Turkey with the simultaneous continuation of the country's accession course as if nothing had happened does not constitute a sanction, but is in substance the ratification of the ease that only Turkey enjoys by not fulfilling its obligations and continuing unhindered its accession course.''

Cyprus, which joined the EU in May 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

Turkey, a country aspiring to become an EU member state, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and refuses to implement the EU-Turkey Customs Union Protocol, which provides for the opening of its ports and airports to Cyprus.

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