Full text of General Affairs Council conclusions on Turkey
Nicosia, Dec 12 -- European Union Foreign Ministers agreed unanimously on Monday night to sanction Turkey for failing to respect its trade obligations to Cyprus by slowing down Ankara's membership talks.
The decision came at the end of more than ten hours of discussions in Brussels in an effort to reach a unanimous line on how to punish Turkey for failing to complete its EU obligations.
The provisional version of the conclusions of the General Affairs and External Relations Council is as follows:
"The Council takes note of the Commission's report of 8 November 2006 and welcomes the findings and recommendations contained therein.
Council welcomes the continued progress made by Turkey in the reform process, but regrets that the pace of reforms has slowed down in 2006. It is essential that Turkey undertakes determined efforts to intensify the reform process and to implement it with determination, so as to ensure its irreversibility and sustainability. The substantial and technical preparation of the negotiations have progressed well. The Council recalls that, in line with the Negotiating Framework, the advancement of the accession negotiations continues to be guided by Turkey's progress in preparing for accession. In this context the Council notes that further significant efforts are required to strengthen freedom of expression, freedom of religion, women's rights, minority rights, trade union rights and civilian control of the military. In line with the Negotiating Framework, Turkey also needs to commit to good neighbourly relations and to the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the United Nations Charter, including, if necessary, jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
The Council recalls the declaration of the European Community and its Member States of 21 September 2005 and notes that Turkey has not fulfilled its obligation of full non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement.
The Council welcomes the Commission's recommendation of 29 November. In this context the Council agrees that the Member States within the Intergovernmental Conference will not decide on opening chapters covering policy areas relevant to Turkey's restrictions as regards the Republic of Cyprus until the Commission verifies that Turkey has fulfilled its commitments related to the Additional Protocol.
These chapters are: Chapter 1: free movement of goods, Chapter 3: right of establishment and freedom to provide service, Chapter 9: financial services, Chapter 11: agriculture and rural development, Chapter 13: fisheries, Chapter 14: transport policy, Chapter 29: customs union and Chapter 30: external relations.
The Council agrees that the Member States within the Intergovernmental Conference will not decide on provisionally closing chapters until the Commission verifies that Turkey has fulfilled its commitments related to the Additional Protocol.
The Council will follow up and review progress made on the issues covered by the declaration of 21 September 2005. The Council invites the Commission to report on this in its forthcoming annual reports, in particular in 2007, 2008 and 2009, as appropriate.
The Council emphasizes that the screening process will now continue and chapters for which technical preparations have been completed will be opened in accordance with established procedures, in line with the Negotiating Framework.
The Council looks forward to speedy progress on these issues.''